Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI is a fresh apple deriving from the Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Braeburn varieties, with compact and juicy flesh.
The production area of Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI is within most municipalities in the Province of Cuneo and several municipalities in the Province of Turin, in the Piedmont region.
The apple orchards are cultivated with the traditional methods of the PGI’s production area. The orchards are positioned in such a way that the crowns of the trees are exposed to the sun, ensuring that the fruit obtain their typical bright colour. The maximum density is 4.000 plants per hectare. Pruning, which is carried out once in winter and at least once in summer, is aimed at guaranteeing the plants correct development and, in particular, the brightness of the fruit’s epicarp. Harvesting takes place as each individual cultivar reaches the right level of ripeness; when the fruit has an intense red colour. The maximum production permitted for Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI is 60 tons per hectare. After the harvest, the apples can be conserved through refrigeration.
Appearance and Flavour
The Red Delicious variety of Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI has a truncated cone shape, with dark wine-red coloured skin and white flesh, which at times can have pale green veins; it has a smooth consistency. Fruit of the Gala and Braeburn varieties have a spheroidal to truncated cone shape; the first is characterised by a strong bright red skin and creamy white flesh that is crunchy and juicy; the second has a skin that ranges from red-orange to dark orange in colour, with creamy white flesh and a dense, fine texture. The Fuji variety is spheroidal to cylindrical in shape, with pale to deep red skin and white or creamy white flesh that is firm, crunchy and juicy.
The University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenza (Cuneo) drew up a detailed document on the vocation of producing red-skinned apples in the area of interest. In fact, since the XVIII century, agricultural academies and associations have been established in Piedmont, with the aim of carrying out a variety of important research into the spread of new cultivars and scientifically-based cultivation techniques. The red skinned apple varieties began to increase until eventually they became the prevalent group. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the term “Mela Rossa Cuneo” was institutionalised and appeared on the travel documents of products destined for both internal and external markets.
Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI should be kept in a cool, dry place, away from direct light or heat sources. If kept in the fridge it is advisable to leave it at room temperature for a short time before eating. Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI is used as an ingredient in numerous recipes of the local cuisine, both sweet and savoury. For example: “pasta Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI and saffron”, “rice and Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI soufflé”, “Cuneesi meatballs”, where the mincemeat is mixed with finely chopped apple, and “Mela Rosse Cuneo PGI mousse”.
The product is marketed as Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI in the following typologies: Red Delicious (from the beginning of September to the end of June), Gala (from the beginning of August to the end of May), Fuji (from the beginning of October to the end of July) and Braeburn (from the end of September to the end of July). It is sold in suitable packaging.
The characteristic dark red skin, as well as its brightness, is the distinctive quality that has given Mela Rossa Cuneo PGI its solid reputation on national and foreign markets; characteristics given to the specific climatic conditions of the geographical area.