Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. is a type of apple belonging to the Malus communis Lam. species, deriving from the following varieties and from their respective clones: Braeburn; Elstar; Fuji; Gala; Golden Delicious; Granny Smith; Idared; Jonagold; Morgenduft; Red Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Pinova and Topaz.
The soil in which Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. is grown is spongy by nature, well drained and rich in oxygen, encouraging the roots of the tree to develop. The fruit orchards are located at an altitude of between 200 and 1000 metres a.s.l. Between the rows of plants there is a layer of grass to protect the soil against premature drought, excessive heat in summer and erosion. Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. is produced using techniques and methods which have a low environmental impact. Harvesting is carried out by hand between August and the end of October, depending on the ripening times of the different varieties. Maximum production in the various production areas cannot exceed 68 tons per hectare, calculated across the entire production area. Once harvested, the apples are transported to the plants in plastic crates and deposited into vats filled with cold water. This operation makes it easier to select the fruit according to colour and size, at the same time avoiding damage.
Appearance and Flavour
Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. is distinguished by its colour, particularly strong fragrance, compact flesh and a long shelf-life.
The production area of Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. is within 72 municipalities in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.
Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. has a centuries-old history. The first historical documents concerning the cultivation regulations for the fruit trees date back to the time of Charlemagne, who ordered them to be planted in the gardens of his property. Other documents dating back to the Middle Ages mention an increase in apple cultivation, mainly thanks to new knowledge and traditions disseminated by the convents. One of the greatest problems that the Unification of Italy had to face was the railway network. In 1867, the start of the Brennero railway allowed the apples from Alto Adige to be diffused and exported to the Imperial courts of Vienna, Berlin and Saint Petersburg. At the end of the XIX century and beginning of the XX century, almost 40 varieties of apples were listed in a work by Karl Mader.
Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. can be kept at a low temperature or in a cool, dry place. The fruit is eaten fresh or used by the confectionary industry as an ingredient for desserts and fruit juices. It is an extremely versatile product that can be eaten naturally or used in characteristic regional recipes, such as strudel, Apfelschmarren (apple fritters) or Scheiterhaufen (bread and apple flan).
The product is marketed as Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A., in the varieties Braeburn; Elstar; Fuji; Gala; Golden Delicious; Granny Smith; Idared; Jonagold; Morgenduft; Red Delicious; Stayman Winesap; Pinova and Topaz; the Marlene brand is used on the Italian and southern European markets; the regional Val Venosta brand guarantees that the product comes from the Venosta Valley, as well as its particular high-quality and the careful cultivation technique. It is sold in cardboard, wooden or plastic crates, containing either one or several layers of apples, or in other suitable packaging material.
The climatic conditions of the production area of Mela Alto Adige PGI or Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A are unique and cannot be reproduced anywhere else. The alternation of cold air coming from the North and hot wind coming from the Mediterranean sea, together with warm and sunny days alternating with chilly nights, create the ideal conditions for the slow ripening of the apples.