Yep, Cotton Candy Grapes are a thing and they’re actually a pretty genius horticultural feat

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

,So, one of my daughters came home from school the other day bursting into my office with far more enthusiasm than usual. She ran into my office with her mouth opened, clearly about to exclaim something profound. But, as a good little daughter who knows mom often works from home, she immediately stopped, seeing I was on a call.

Instead she feverishly wrote me a note.


I couldn’t respond, but I gave her a sort of, “what the hell are you talking about” sideways glance. Later I asked her about it, thinking there couldn’t possibly be a cotton candy-flavored grape. She described it with all the enthusiasm of a kid hitting up an amusement park for the first time.

“It tastes just like cotton candy,” she exclaimed. “Seriously MAAAAAAAMMMMM, you have to buy them.”

Still not convinced I did a little research. Surely if there is such a thing as a designer grape that tastes like cotton candy it has to be pumped full of all sorts of weird stuff I don’t particularly want me kids ingesting. Turns out I was wrong.

According to NPR, the cotton candy grape is the result of years of genetic engineering — the good ole fashioned natural way. Researchers cross bred two varieties of grapes to pack all the good flavors into one kid-friendly grape.

NPR spoke to Horticulturalist David Cain, who wants to restore natural flavors that have been stripped away by years of breeding fruit to withstand shipping and storage instead of to taste good.

Turns out the hybrid grape lacks the tartness found in traditional table grapes, leaving the sweet of the fruit nothing else to cancel it out. One of the cross-bred grape varieties also contains a hint of vanilla, which is a notable flavor, apparently, in pink cotton candy.

The cotton candy grapes have 18 grams of sugar per 100 grams of grape. That’s a little more than regular grapes, but far less than raisins.

The only real drawback may be the price. These sweet snacks run about $6 per pound — quite a bit more than the purple and green grapes we’re used to picking up at the supermarket. The cotton candy grapes still are a bit tough to find, but they’ve been available commercially since 2011, so their availability is likely to continue to improve.

According to Grapery, the company that makes the cotton candy grapes, the variety is available at Publix, Sam’s Club and the Fresh Market. Now, I don’t shop at Sam’s Club and with three kids I’m priced out of the Fresh Market, but I have yet to see the cotton candy grapes at Publix. I will be keeping an eye out, though, since, after all, my kid says I absolutely must have a taste.

If you spot some of the fancy-schmancy grapes at your local supermarket, let me know in the comments. In the meantime, try a grapple. It’s a grape-flavored apple and it’s delicious.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]