Highly aromatic, their skin is often speckled due to a high concentration of sugar in the flesh.
In the summer of 2011, we tasted an incredible peach at the market in Milan. Selected from a crate simply labelled Pesche Bianche, or “White Peaches,” it had an intense aroma and speckled skin. Inside, its flesh was almost entirely blushed with deep purple streaks.
It then took over two years of hunting around the Italian countryside to trace that peach back to its grower. After countless phone calls, several dead-ends and a sudden epiphany that led us to a small town in Campania, we finally found Domenico, whose peach orchard is tucked away between Naples and Caserta.
Now we work with him closely, sourcing each of his ten White Peach varieties throughout the summer. Each variety is only available for a short, two to three week window and comes into season at a slightly different time. For Domenico, this means multiple harvests as well as a busy routine of strategic pruning to ensure that each fruit is exposed to the sun and ripens evenly.
The White Peach that sparked our search at the market was the Greta, the second variety to ripen on Domenico’s orchard. The exceptionally high level of anthocyanins in this variety means that - although still technically a white peach - its flesh is sometimes completely blushed with vibrant reddish purple streaks. Anthocyanins, which are also found in dark, astringent fruits like blueberries, not only cause the flesh to pigment but can also impact the flavour of the fruit, giving these peaches a slight tartness and a unique, almost berry-like aroma.
Domenico not only thins the young fruit from his trees so that the remaining peaches grow bigger and develop a more intense flavour, but he also allows his White Peaches to ripen fully before harvesting them. Delivering ripe peaches presents a huge challenge, which is why most are picked from the tree when they’re still firm so that they travel easily.
Handled very carefully from the moment they are harvested, our peaches have to be transported in single layers and checked one by one for any signs of damage on arrival. Rather than compromising on flavour, we have adapted our supply chain so that we can bring Domenico's peaches to the UK with as little handling as possible along the way.