From recipes to rituals, the Specialty Produce App serves up a taste of traditions from around the world, taking your tastebuds on holiday travel as you indulge in the rich history and heritage of far-off festive favorites.

Bite into the juicy history of the Norfolk Beefing apple, an English heirloom variety most notably known for being slow-cooked, compressed, cooled, then cored to make a soft, chewy treat called a Biffin. The sugar-coated dried apples were made by bakers in Norfolk, England, and were sent to the bustling Christmas markets of London, carefully packaged and sold as a winter delicacy throughout the Victorian Era. In fact, Biffins became so intertwined in London’s holiday season that they were even referenced in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, on display at the core of the novel's holiday market, “entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner."

Another favorite food of Christmas past in England is quince paste, or quince cheese, a firm, sliceable fruit paste with a floral, honey-sweet flavor that will take you on a trip down marmalade lane. Known as membrillo in Spain and marmelada in Portugal, this predecessor to the commercialized citrus preserve was molded (quite literally) from a humble ancient fruit called quince, a sour but aromatic relative of apples and pears. Inedible when raw, quinces were traditionally boiled with sugar and then poured into a mold to solidify. They were often shaped into elaborate designs as a symbol of status, perhaps because sugar was a notoriously expensive commodity until the 17th century, though quince does have a long history of reverence in Europe in its own right.

This holiday season, why not revive one of these old-world recipes with a fresh modern flare using apples and quince from the winter fruit wonderland at our warehouse! Craving more? Download the Specialty Produce App to savor the often whimsical, sometimes strange, always satisfying stories of the fruits and vegetables that keep us cozy through the winter and garnish our feasts with cheer!

Hero image: iStock/alvarez. This image: iStock/AnaMOMarques.

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