I finally got my hands on a bergamot orange this week and I have been scheming about what I’m going to do with the luscious rind. Heidi from 101 Cookbooks just happened to post a recipe for gorgeous citrus salts a few days ago, which are a definite possibility. But I am thinking I want to pair this up with Earl Grey tea somehow. Bergamot oil is what provides the distinct flavor of Earl Grey so it seems like an obvious way to push the flavor. I’ve got a few things brewing so stay tuned for a recipe next week.

As we chat about bergamots, I need to warn you that Internet seems to have some confusion about two different fruit that both seem to be bergamot but are pretty different. (Yes, I like to refer to Internet at times as if he/she is my personal friend – same way I do when I’m talking about my good, close friends Brad and Angie – I loved Angie’s dress at the Globes.) So beware when looking to purchase them. David Lebovitz does a pretty straightforward job of describing the competing specimens. The true bergamot is a cross between a sour orange and an uncertain citrus – potentially a lemon, citron or limetta (sweet lime). Once again the wacky citrus world has been flouncing around. I can’t say this shocks me anymore as it appears the citrus world is notoriously wild. You can’t leave them alone for one second.

By the way, I am heading to UC Riverside next week for a tour of their citrus collection. I have a good number of questions for them about citrus varieties and how things are classified. I am still a little baffled by whether an orange is a type of mandarin or if a mandarin is a type of orange–among other things. And of course, I’m hoping to get my hands on a few unusual goodies. Let me know in the comments (or email me) if there is anything you would love to know about the citrus world. I think I’m going to have access to some experts, so now is the time.

Bergamot Orange

APPEARANCE Rating: ★★★½☆

Bright yellow, bumpy sphere with pale greenish-yellow flesh.

AROMA Rating: ★★★★★

Extraordinary perfume when cut or zested. Fills the room with a delightfully high-pitched orange fragrance. It literally makes my eyebrows go up as I breathe it in.

TEXTURE Rating: ★★★½☆

Fairly dense when cut with a knife. Thin rind and mildly juicy flesh. Few seeds.

TASTE Rating: ★★★½☆

Reminds me of a grown up version of sour orange pixie sticks.

OVERALL Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

This fruit is basically the polar opposite of the Mango Orange I reviewed last week. This baby is all acidity. It is just over-the-top sour. That being said, it has this really sweet high note that I thoroughly enjoy and while I couldn’t possibly eat even a segment of this fruit, I keep going for little nibbles of the juice. I think that might be why my cheeks are starting to sweat as I type this. That, or I’m just really out of shape and simple typing raises my heart rate. Hard to say.

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