The Anatomy of Dessert, an out-of-print book by Edward Bunyan, is a poetic celebration of English fruits and desserts in the early twentieth century. In the book Bunyan writes: "It is, in my view, the duty of an apple is to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption."
Black Cow vodka, 50ml
Spiced pear syrup, 25ml
Lemon juice, 25ml
Soda water, 100ml
A sprig of fresh rosemary, to garnish
A slice of pear, to garnish
A few cubes of ice
Step by step
Pour the vodka, syrup and lemon juice into the glass, give a good stir with a long spoon or metal straw.
Add cubed ice and give another stir, top up with soda water, add a bit more ice and give another hearty stir.
For the garnish, cut three pieces from the pear and join together, making a fan.
Take a small piece of the rosemary, rip off the stem and place next to the pear fan.
A little history
The cultivation of pears goes back some 4,000 years. It is likely that they originated in the Caucasus region from where they spread west to Europe and east to Asia.
In Ancient times the pear was considered superior to the apple and outnumbered it in varieties grown. By 300 B.C. techniques such as grafting and cross-pollination of pears were known in Greece.
The Domesday Book of 1086 refers to pear trees as boundary markers in England, suggesting their cultivation at this time. The first important English pear, the Wardon (a cooking pear mentioned in Shakespeare's work) was introduced by Cistercian monks at Wardon in Bedfordshire.
Pear varieties were greatly improved during the eighteenth century, largely by horticulturalists in France and Belgium. The number of varieties growing in Britain rose from 64 in 1640 to over 700 by the late nineteenth century.
Today the Conference pear accounts for well over 90% of commercial production in this country. Imported pears account for around 80% of consumption.