Spain could well be defined as the paradise of European fruit, a classification that the markets on the continent are fully aware of, particularly those in central and northern Europe. Although oranges and apples continue to be the standards of Spanish fruit, enjoying diversified and high quality production, much of which has been certified, there is a wide range of varieties and choice.
In the Regional Community of Valencia (particularly the provinces of Valencia and Castellon), we can find a wide range of oranges. Most of the production of this fruit extends along the coast; although there are also plantations in valleys with calm and warm climates like Galicia, Cantabria, Ávila and Arribes del Duero. We must not forget a very special variety of extraordinary quality from the province of Zamora.
The range of citrus fruits continues with verna or primafiori lemons, whose production is dotted around Cantabria and extends mainly in the region of Murcia.
Although these fruits are the best known, they are not the only ones that make up the citrus family. The delicious and traditional tangerines, satsuma and clementines must be highlighted and, to a lesser degree, quince jelly, a fruit which has astringent properties when raw and is the perfect ingredient for sweets when cooked.
If there is a fruit that has become the hallmark, it is the banana from the Canary Islands, with its characteristic black spots that are easily recognisable in markets all over the world. Only cultivable on land up to 500 metres above sea level, almost all of its production is on the Canary Islands although other smaller varieties with lower production can be found in Granada and Malaga.
The production of apples is more diversified and extends throughout the north of Spain. Asturias and Guipuzcoa stand out as the two great cider regions, whilst the reinette apple is found in the region of Bierzo.
On the other hand, the pear offers numerous high quality varieties, such as ercoline, conference, decane or moraline pears. It is typical to find pear orchards in Zaragoza and Lleida with their popular poma variety. The Rincón de Soto variety in La Rioja, and the Jumilla pear are of a similar quality.
If we continue presenting Spanish fruit as a range, it would appear to be never-ending. Therefore special mention must be given to the delicious peach from Calanda (Teruel) and from the rest of Aragón and La Rioja, the melons from La Mancha (Villaconejos), the watermelons, the famous seeded or seedless grapes from Vinapoló in Alicante, the extraordinary cherries from Jerte in Extremadura and those from Montaña in Alicante. The list continues with strawberries from Huelva (which came to our country as a result of the discovery of America) and the highly valued but scant strawberries from Aranjuez; followed by grapefruit, avocado, pineapple, white, green or black figs.
The journey through the fruit and Spanish geography takes us to the Costa del Sol, more specifically to Callosa de Ensarría (in Alicante), where the loquat par excellence is cultivated. Pomegranates, known for their sweetness and high vitamin and mineral content, also come from the Mediterranean coast.
Other newer and more tropical varieties of fruit can be added to the traditional, well-established fruit. This is the case of kiwis, mangos or custard apples that are now planted on the Costa del Sol. Furthermore, avocado crops of the bacon, fuerte and hass varieties have become more widespread and there are smaller productions of papayas, aromatic guava, lychee and carambolas.
There is an endless range of possibilities that makes Spain a country that supplies quality, colourful, tasty and healthy fruit internationally.