Do Cotton Candy Grapes Really Taste Like The Iconic Sweet?

Cotton candy grapes are a plump, light yellow-green, oval-shaped variety with taut skin and crisp flesh. Based on their name, it shouldn't surprise you that they have been deliberately bred, as opposed to being a naturally occurring species in the grape world.

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The berries (yep, grapes are classified as berries) were originally commercially available in small quantities starting in 2011 but are now regularly sold in supermarkets. The fruit was designed by horticulturist David Cain, who wanted to add more grape choices for customers at the grocery store to keep pace with the many varieties of apples that are available for retail purchase. 

Cotton candy grapes are a cross-breed between two types, one being Vitis vinifera, which is the kind that almost all table grape varieties belong to in the United States. The other grape involved in their development is a Concord-like variety whose specific identity remains a trade secret. Concord grapes are the type you likely associate with grape juice, the ones with the deep purple skin and an unmistakable "grape" flavor.

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A product's name carries the expectation that it will taste exactly like what it advertises. Think things like Sour Patch Kids, which do taste sour. Of course, others don't always deliver, like the cereal Grape Nuts, which contains neither grapes nor nuts. So the real question is: Do cotton candy grapes actually taste like cotton candy? As someone who's had them plenty of times now, I can say the answer is yes — for the most part.

Surprisingly, cotton candy grapes do taste as advertised

The flavor of cotton candy grapes isn't an exact replica of cotton candy, but it comes wildly closer than you'd expect. They're sweeter than they are tart, and while they have a whisper of vague strawberry flavor in the background, there's also a hint of vanilla in there, which is the most impressive part about them. 

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If you've never had cotton candy grapes, it's fascinating that actual grapes are able to capture that wispy spun sugar taste so well. That being said, the idea of breeding a natural fruit to mimic the taste of a manufactured food product still strikes me as odd, but sometimes it takes an odd selling point to get people to try new things, including fruit. 

As for me, I'm perfectly happy with all grapes as they are (meaning there's no need for special flavors for me), but for the novelty alone, cotton candy grapes are definitely worth trying. Just be warned that they are always more expensive than your average grape, from my experience. But then again, you can't always describe a fruit as fun, and cotton candy grapes most certainly deliver the fun.

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