The Jaffa orange is a sweet variety of orange, also known as Shamouti orange. It takes its name from the city of Jaffa, an ancient port city in Israel which became known as the main city of export of these oranges during the mid-19th century.
Slightly oval in shape, thick-skinned, practically seedless and bright orange in colour, Jaffa oranges are relatively cold-tolerant and their thick exterior made them popular for export as they stored well without spoiling for longer periods at sea.
THE HISTORY OF JAFFA ORANGES
Did you know that the famous Jaffa orange is the reason why Tel Aviv has the nickname of ‘The Big Orange’? Ancient Jaffa is now a part of the city of Tel Aviv, and in the last quarter of the 19th century this was where Jaffa orange popularity saw its peak – millions of oranges made their way through the port to the rest of the world! It was common to find numerous orchards everywhere; they made the city fragrant with orange blossoms in the spring, and the ripe oranges were – and continue to be – harvested in the months of November through to March.
Today, the Mediterranean remains one of the most important producers of sweet oranges in the world, but not only – from blood oranges, navel oranges, but also many other citrus fruits, the favourable climate conditions of the area allow for the production of quality citrus that is sought after by citrus lovers all over the world.
AN ENGLISH FAVOURITE: JAFFA CAKE
England was an early importer of the Jaffa orange, and whilst many nowadays may not know the story of Jaffa, they surely know the Jaffa cake. A cake that resembles more a biscuit, the Jaffa cake consists of a thin sponge biscuit coated in chocolate with an orange flavoured filling jammed in between the two layers. Orange and chocolate is a delicious combination of flavours, try it with a cup of tea like the English on your next visit!