Calville Blanc d'Hiver
Origin and History
Calville Blanc d'Hiver is the classic dual purpose apple of France. Originally recorded as Blanche de Zurich in 1598, it was renamed after the village of Calville in Normandy and first mentioned as such by Pierre Le Lectier, councillor to Louis XIII in 1627 when trees were planted at the King's estate in Orleans. Calville Blanc d'Hiver was exported to the USA in the early 18th century and grown by Thomas Jefferson on his Monticello estate. It was immortalised by Monet in his 1879 still life 'Apples and Grapes.'
The apple is renowned for its unusually high Vitamin C content.
The apple is medium-sized with a flattish, lumpy appearance and uneven ribs extending the length of the fruit. The skin is smooth, pale green or pale yellow with a smattering of red dots on the side exposed to the sun. The taste is rich and intense and some apple connoisseurs describe it as 'effervescent'.
Picking, Storing and Using
Calville Blanc d'Hiver is the traditional variety used for tarte aux pommes as it keeps its shape when cooked. It is also good for cider and cider vinegar. It ripens in October and turns yellow in storage but should be kept for at least a month to develop its flavour.
Growth, Flowering and Pollination
The tree is vigorous but can be shy to fruit. It needs a sunny location to ripen fully and the quality of fruit tends to improve as the tree matures.
Calville Blanc d'Hiver is not self-fertile. A pollinator such as Annie Elizabeth, Laxton's Superb or one of the white-flowered crab-apples, is required for it to crop.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018