After all the effort of growing a pineapple, what exactly happened next to the king of fruits?
Surprisingly, while pineapples may have appeared on the table they weren’t always eaten straight away, but were often used ornamentally, like a centrepiece of flowers would be later in the 19th century. As the crowning glory of a fruit laden epergne or dessert arrangement they were a feast for the eyes – and nose – as much as for the palate. They were, after all, status symbols; you can imagine that sitting down to a formal dinner in the 1830s and being presented with a magnificently arranged pineapple surrounded by other fresh and exotic fruits, which was then cut and served, would make quite an impression.
Incidentally, a great tip for serving pineapple comes from our Vaucluse House colleague, Zafar, which he learnt growing up in Indonesia. Not only does he display enviable skill at peeling the pineapples produced in the kitchen garden – he quickly cuts a series of radial grooves that remove all the eyes while spinning the pineapple in his hand, leaving a very decorative criss-crossed pattern – he also sprinkles the cut fruit with salt. It sounds bizarre, but it really does wonders for the taste and we’ve followed his advice ever since.