I can’t remember the last time I ate cotton candy. Maybe when I was fourteen or fifteen years old? And you have to know that I haven’t even thought about touching the stuff – consisting of white sugar and artificial flavors and colors – with a ten-foot pole since my mid-twenties.
But the other day, I succumbed. I sinned. I ate cotton candy…
If you’ve never heard of cotton candy grapes before, welcome to my world. We were at Whole Foods, and I went over to the grape display to pick up several bags of grapes (maybe the last time I ever do that; see my next post). There, I did a double take at the words on the bags of green grapes just in front of me: “Organic Cotton Candy.”
I said – not to myself, but out loud – “What on earth are cotton candy grapes?”
There were two ladies standing near me, conversing. I didn’t mean to interrupt them, but one of them looked at me and said with a smile, “If you’ve never eaten cotton candy grapes, you have got to try them. Just steal one out of the bag.”
So I did. And the instant my teeth released the sweet juice underneath the skin, I knew why they were called “cotton candy” grapes. They actually have a flavor reminiscent of cotton candy!
I know, crazy. Hard to believe. And if you go to your nearest Whole Foods right now to try to find some, you may search in vain. I asked our bagger why, even though I’ve been shopping at Whole Foods for twenty years, I have never heard of cotton candy grapes before.
Turns out they are only available for a very limited period of time, the end of June or beginning of July, and sell like the proverbial hotcakes.
That explains it. I’ve only ever done once-a-week grocery shopping, and since moving to a rural area it’s been once a month, or even less frequently. I’m also pretty certain that variety of grapes has not been around for twenty years.
So I may never eat another cotton candy grape after this year. In the meantime, I bought three bags – and when I got home, wondered why I hadn’t bought more.
A subconscious decision to let just one more customer discover the divine and rare flavor?
For more information about how these grapes came about, click here for an article from the NPR website (where it states that they have been available since 2011).