D’Arcy Spice is a medium-sized dessert apple, with specific climatic needs. It is not a reliable variety from the cropping point of view. The fruit is not attractive-looking, and the variety is very frost-sensitive. It is more reliable in certain areas of the county of Essex. It does not like clay soils. Medium to light loams are suitable. It is a specialist variety, not suitable for the average garden, outside Essex. Not suitable for eating until late November/early December.
D’Arcy Spice is a good example of how apple varieties can be very site-specific. It originated from a tree found at Tolleshunt d’Arcy Hall, in Essex, in 1785 or possibly earlier, and it grows best in that area. Traditionally it is not picked until Guy Fawkes Day (5 November), but its full flavour develops only after a couple of months in storage.
The variety’s name derives from its flavour when mature, which is distinctly spicy and has been compared to the taste of mince pies, with touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. So, although a challenging variety and a slow-growing tree, it offers a unique taste experience. It can also be used for cooking and juicing.