In my last post I mentioned a roast chestnut I’ve had in a coat pocket for 24 years. Now I’ve unearthed another oddity.
An autumn spring clean has reacquainted me with a decorative candle received as a house-warming gift in 1986 – and never used. Maybe the Beurré Bosc pear shape was too nice to melt into a blob, or it held sentimental value. Either way, its time has come. More on that later.
Whenever I cook brown pears, my mother mentions the hot sugary pears she ate in Trieste prior to the 1950s. They weren’t sold at shops but from large metal containers strapped to the shoulders of walking, talking vendors. Pre-cooked and kept warm atop hot coals in a bain-marie arrangement inside these drums, the special small brown pears (peri petorai) were sometimes sold on skewers. Obviously a precursor to the ‘dessert on a stick’ phenomenon now popular.
Jump to 1983 when I tasted my first pear and dark chocolate gelato in the lovely Tuscan city, Lucca – a flavour combination so special I can still taste it.
Home from the European trip, I was dying to know what Veneto-born Australian artist George Baldessin’s Pear – Version No. 2 steel sculptures at the Australian National Gallery would taste like with a Poire Belle Helene treatment.
Italy loves its pears and is the second-largest producer of pears. In Australia, our pear industry is struggling, with SPC Ardmona bulldozing surplus trees as it tries to compete with cheap imports sold by supermarkets. I used to enjoy Lindt’s Dark Intense Pear flavour but I hear it’s discontinued. If anyone knows otherwise, please tell me so pronto.
But back to the pear candle. The ancient Chinese believed the pear was a symbol of immortality as pear trees live a long time, so with no celebratory sparking wine in the house, I’m going to light the candle for this blog’s first anniversary. May it live a long time too.
Hope you continue to enjoy it.
And something sweet and sticky from Delia Smith: Pears in Marsala