Why you should be excited
Fiesta is a relative of Cox’s Orange Pippin that’s less finicky and still a delicious and complex fresh-eating apple.
The story of Fiesta
It’s no surprise that apple breeding in England has frequently used the great UK-favourite variety, Cox’s Orange Pippin, as one of the parents. Just as Japanese breeding has tended to use the most popular of sweet apples, Golden Delicious.
Breeders in each country understandably try to build from existing preferences.
And Fiesta is a good example of what can be done with a Cox offspring, delivering some of the complexity of that variety while also providing a much less finicky tree. Plus it gets good keeping ability from its other parent, Idared, which is a major bonus.
Strangely, we have found both parents to be less than ideal trees in the orchard (Cox's Orange Pippin because of its susceptibility to all diseases and general lack of dependable productivity and Idared because of its issues with scab), yet Fiesta has grown with less difficulty than either. So we've been favourably impressed.
The bottom line: this pretty apple would be valued even if nobody knew about its parentage.
Bred in Kent, England; introduced in 1972.
Flavour, aroma, texture
Crisp, juicy, sweet, but with some spicy complexity as well as nicely balancing acidity.
Medium-sized with a yellow background prettily flecked with orange and red flush.
When they’re available
Late season (usually in October).
Quality for fresh eating
Good. Good for juice, too.
Quality for cooking
Mainly used for fresh eating and in cider.
Quality for cider
While not particularly well known for its use in cider, Fiesta has quietly developed a reputation as a good cider apple.
Good (about 3 months when kept refrigerated).