From Valle del Guadalcobacín to the rest of the world
Apples from Ronda are a natural fruit from Valle del Guadalcobacín. It is a fruit that has survived to every plague and the introduction of more commercial trees. It is a fruit that tastes like Ronda and is a part of its history and culture. The apple from Ronda is a variety of the apple that is only grown in this inlad region in Málaga. They can be mistaken by regular apples easily because they look just the same.
However, on the inside, the apple from Ronda is a world of totally different flavours with a softer and juicier texture. The apple from Ronda is slightly smaller than a regular apple. This product is also resistant to meteorological changes and time: it is preserved in good conditions up to six months after being collected. Younger generations barely know about this fruit. This fruit was most produced during the 1950s and the 1970s. During this period, this product was highly demanded in the main markets of Spain: Cádiz, Córdoba, Madrid or Bilbao. It was also exported internationally and it arrived to some areas of South America and Africa.
The return of the apple from Ronda
Farmers in Valle del Guadalcobacín have decided to take back the apple from Ronda after a period of uncertainty when it almost disappeared. In the last five years, its production has started to be significant again in Málaga. This product can be now enjoyed in many ways. The most simple and traditional one is to eat it fresh as a snack, for dessert or in the afternoon. Its use in baking and other types of consumption have also become important. So the use of apples from Ronda to make cakes, pies, puff pastries, jams or even brandies has become quite popular.
‘Peritos’ from Ronda
Among the products made with this popular fruit in Serranía de Ronda, ‘peritos’ are widely known. ‘Peritos’ are sweets in the shape of a chocolate made with puff pastrie, cinnamon, butter and sugar. This sweet was created by the baker David Verdú, who was born in Ronda, with the objective of promoting the production and consumption of this fruit.
Apples from Ronda wer very popular during the second half of the XX century. They were usual fruits in the main big markets of the country. Its fame was such that it has even been registered in some tourist, literature or history books such as Fortunada y Jacinta, by Benito Pérez Galdós: “Jacinta could not do anything but eating it and she found it rough and acidulous, without being able to appreciate the smell of apples from Ronda that they say that drink had [manzanilla sherry]”.
There are six varieties of this fruit. The first one is the original one, the most common in the region: the apple from Ronda. Another variety that can be found in Valle del Guadalcobacín is the ‘cotrofo’ apple, with a juicy texture and earthy flavour. The rest of the varieties are the apple from Aragón, the ‘cañaval colorao’, the ‘pero bonito’ and ‘pero maíllo’. This last one is used as a graft to lant the apple from Ronda.
The production of apples from Ronda stopped in the XX century because cheaper and more commercial varieties of apples became important. Its disappearance was also due to some plagues that threatened the life of this fruit. That is why its production fell from 10 tons in some lands to just three or four families growing a few apple trees for personal consumption and so as not to lose an exclusive product from this region.