A new strawberry variety aimed mainly at the foodservice sector could be grown in the UK soon, having reportedly enjoyed a surge in popularity in the Netherlands ahead of a commercial roll-out expected later this year.
Branded under the name Delizzimo, the ever-bearing variety was developed in the Netherlands by ABZ Seeds and is grown exclusively from seeds, setting it apart as different to the majority of strawberries currently available on the market.
Delizzimo is currently undergoing production trials in the country, with three companies – Sligro, Van Gelder and Makro – understood to be in line to wholesale the fruit.
According to Holland Strawberry House, the division of ABZ which is overseeing the variety’s commercial introduction and early marketing activities, consumers – especially those eating in restaurants – want strawberries with a full flavour.
Supplying full-flavoured, high-quality strawberries as early as possible in the season has traditionally been a challenge, meaning local production tends to lose out to imported fruit.
Delizzimo could be produced during the winter months in greenhouses using specially designed lighting systems that are becoming more and more cost-effective to set up.
What’s more, Delizzimo appears to be making friends in the right places, thanks to a concerted effort on the part of Holland Strawberry House to build its reputation as a leader in terms of taste.
During a series of recent consumer panel tests involving established chefs and bloggers as well as students in the Netherlands, Delizzimo emerged as the preferred sample each time, reportedly outperforming established varieties such as Lambada, Sonata, Elsanta, Clery and Fortuna.
At a special tasting event organised in London earlier this week as part of The Chef’s Forum, members of the UK’s restaurant business were invited to sample three different strawberry types – Delizzimo, Dutch-grown Sonata and Moroccan-grown Fortuna – and score different aspects of its taste and appearance, including flavour, aroma and colour, out of ten.
According to ABZ, Delizzimo received the highest overall score, 6.6, followed by Sonata with 6.4 and Fortuna with 4.6. “Delizzimo was praised for its beautiful presentation and delicious bite, [and] also scored significantly better on the magnificent red external fruit colour.”
Pascale Tammes of Dutch research agency HOdds, which organised the tasting, said the variety offered the market something different in terms of its cultivation as well as its taste.
“What’s different about Delizzimo is that it is grown from seeds, which needs fewer chemicals during cultivation. If you grow [strawberries] from seeds, you can start cleaner,” she explained.