I have always loved peaches, but they haven’t really been one of my favourite fruits while living in Spain. I think because most of the peaches I have tried in supermarkets lacked flavour and aroma. I remember as a child eating peaches that were full of flavour, far more than they do today. That was at least, until I tasted the Calanda Peaches.
There are peaches and then there are peaches. These are something special.
In order to guarantee their properties, the genuine Calanda peaches are pampered to an extent that seems almost silly. The producers use what is called a thinning technique to make sure the quality is supreme. This means removing 70% of the existing fruits on the tree in order to leave a distance of 20 cm between each fruit. This means the fruits are better nourished. This original cultivation technique offers us a more bulky and fleshy fruit.
To give you an idea, If you had in your hands is a real Calanda peach, its diameter would be a minimum of 73 mm.
These peaches with Calanda Peach Certificate of Origin (D.O.) have achieved a certain level of prestige in the fruit market, primarily because of its excellent flavour and sweetness and also due to their unusually large size.
Each peach carries a genuine black label, which guarantees a minimum sweetness of 12º Brix. This is the minimum quantity for peaches to give off their attractive odour. Something that is missing from almost all supermarket peaches these days.
What’s more the attention to detail is very important. Every peach of the D.O. Calanda is put in a bag one by one in the tree itself during the last 2 months of growth. Thanks to this step the peach ripens inside a protective bag guaranteeing its pureness, as it doesn’t make contact with any kind of phytosanitary product or external agents.
The cultivation area of “Calanda Peach” is mainly located in Lower Aragon region. This D.O. is located in the southeast of the Ebro river valley, between Teruel and Zaragoza provinces and it is made up of 45 towns. The season for genuine D.O. Calanda peach covers from middle of September to the end of October, depending on the climate. Before this time, you must be wary as it is very unlikely that they will be authentic, always check fro the black sticker. However we are at the end of September, you are in luck, this is the prime of the season!
The tradition of cultivating peaches across the Aragon region goes back hundreds of years. There are documents which reference the production of Calanda Peaches from the Middle Ages and in 1895, the botanist J. Pardo Sastrón gave a detailed description of the production process for this unique fruit. The increase in production didn’t develop until the fifties.
So if you fancy tasting a truly juicy, sweet and aromatic peach, don’t forget the Calanda peach the next time you pass by a fruit market.