Carte Noir Clementine Mandarin Orange was discovered in Morocco in 1968 and came to California via France. It is low in acid and is one of the earliest maturing clementines in the Mediterranean. Carte Noir is also known as Bekria, which means early in Arabic.
Taste Test Results
Carte Noir tied for second place in the November 2014 citrus taste test of 60 varieties from California's central valley. Carte Noir was the top-rated clementine mandarin in the taste test and it scored 6.9 on a scale from 1 to 9, slightly lower than “very good” (7). Tasters liked the flavor and found Carte Noir to be juicy and sweet with some seeds.
I found it interesting that an early variety was rated the highest of the clementines since some of the others seemed to me to be already past their peak at the time of the taste test.
Here are some of the comments submitted by tasters:
- Small, a little seedy, but packed with flavor and a great sweet/sour balance. Very juicy without being watery. A standout.
- Tiny. Very juicy. Tough membranes. Peel sticks a little. Would make great tasting juice.
- Nice balance sweet/tart.
- Sweet, juicy, and easy peeling.
- Great flavor. Not too acidic. Wanted a giant glass full of juice from this.
- Some seeds. Easy to peel. Delicious!
- Sweet with a good amount of acid.
- Small; hard to peel; 4 seeds; tastes good; high fiber.
- Sweet, with bitter flavor. Small fruit with delicate skin.
- Nice flavor, very sweet.
With so many other great mandarin oranges to grow in California, I am less inclined to grow Clementines since they tend to be seedy in the presence of other citrus varieties. Clementine farmers in California commonly place nets on clementine trees to make them seedless by preventing them from being pollinated, however. Clementines in the home garden can also be made seedless by netting the trees.
The clementine most commonly found in California nurseries is the Nules Clementine and I think it is unlikely that one could find a Carte Noir. If I decide to plant a Clementine tree this year, I will probably buy a Nules Clementine tree and graft it with Carte Noir (budwood ordered from CCPP) so that I can try both of these varieties on the same tree.