If you’ve ever seen cotton candy grapes in the grocery store, you might’ve been intrigued enough to buy them. And, once you take that first bite, there’s no going back. These poppable little fruits really do taste like the classic carnival treat (without literally being made of sugar). Needless to say, they’re addictingly sweet and the perfect summer snack.
But, how do cotton candy grapes actually taste like cotton candy?
The answer has nothing to do with artificial flavorings, and everything to do with cross-breeding.
Think about how many varieties of apples or tomatoes you see at the store. Each one has a slightly different flavor profile thanks to the way they were grown. Some of them are hybrid species, developed by combining two other types of the fruit/vegetable to create a new one.
Cotton candy grapes are no different. They are the hybrid byproduct of a Concord-like grape and a variety of Vitis vinifera—what you’re most likely to find in the grocery store. They were first developed by horticulturist David Cain, who created at least 100,000 different test tubes before discovering this variety.
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The result is an incredibly sweet grape that is so sugary, it tastes like cotton candy rather than a (relatively) healthy fruit. It’s hard to stop eating them!
When it comes to cross-breeding fruits, the sky’s the limit. There’s no telling what flavors we might see at the grocery store in the future. For now, we can enjoy the incredible sweetness of cotton candy grapes without having to go to the county fair.