The Pazazz Apple

James Norton / Heavy Table

In the years since the explosive 1991 release of the Honeycrisp apple and all that has followed (at time, limited supplies, price gouging, imposters, would-be successors, etc.) the stakes for building a better apple have become higher and far more public. The average eater used to know little about apples beyond Granny Smith versus Red Delicious; now new varieties hit the market with a wave of attendant publicity and brand-building.

This brings us to the Pazazz, a cross between a Honeycrisp and an undisclosed second variety. It’s designed to stay crisp and tasty during longterm storage, peaking in January and February. Based on the samples we were mailed (in early December) there’s a lot to like about this apple.

As its name implies, Pazazz is not a subtle apple. It’s one of the firmest, crispiest, crunchiest apples we’ve tried (and we’ve tried a lot), and also one of the most boldly tart, particularly when compared to the relatively retiring Honeycrisp. There is a warm foundational sweetness, too, so that once that tart flavor has blasted you, it is effectively counterbalanced by the sugar.

The value prospect is harder to assess, as the limited supply of a newer apple varietal can fluctuate in price based on supply, demand, and how much of an introductory marketing push is made on its behalf. The apple (initially developed in Wisconsin) is being marketed and distributed by the Elgin, Minn.-based Honeybear Brands, and if the track record of other Minnesota-born apple brands (like Honeycrisp and Sweetango) is anything to go by, we should be seeing a lot of them around in the winters to come.

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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