Developed by the Delbard nursery in France in the 1950s, this is an another attempt to improve on Golden Delicious - and a pretty successful one at that. It is very attractive in appearance, with the light yellow / green of Golden Delicious overlaid with lovely red and orange stripes. Estivale has been marketed under a number of names so you might have heard of it as Delbarestivale, Monidel, Dalili, Ambassy or Delcorf Estivale.
Estivale is an early apple variety, grown commercially on a small scale in France and England, and usually available in early to mid September. Many early apple varieties are related to Worcester Pearmain, so Estivale, with its Golden Delicious parentage, is an interesting contrast. Whilst still a sharp apple, Estivale is inherently sweeter and we think has a better balance of sweet and sharp than some of the Worcester Pearmain offspring.
The flavour is fairly typical of a modern early variety, being sweet but with a bit more acid to it than Golden Delicious, and therefore rather more refreshing. There is a hint of strawberry and even pear. The flesh is cream, and quite crisp when fresh.
Its main drawback is that it bruises quite easily, although unlike many early varieties it does not go soft within a couple of days of picking.
In short, this is a pleasant summery apple, and one of the best early apple varieties.
The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.
Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.
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