Conference And Scarf
The exact origin of the pear is not known. It is often thought that the pear originates from the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, but some place it further east, south of the Ural Mountains or even towards Central Asia. From the wild pears, edible varieties of pears have been developed through breeding. Until the 16th century pears were only suitable for cooking, the so-called cooking pears, so pears had to be cooked before they could be eaten. From the 16th century onwards the first eaters were cultivated in France and Italy.
The distinguishing aspect of pears is that the difference in flavours between the different varieties is much greater than it is in other fruits such as apples. Flavours range from sweet to sour (sharp), the flesh from hard to soft as butter, from smooth to granular and from faintly aromatic to very aromatic. So there is something to suit everybody. Even the names of the varieties prickle the imagination much more than the names of many apples.
Conference is by far the most widely grown pear in north-west Europe. The variety was found in 1884 as an open pollinated seedling, from a Leon Leclerc de Laval. This variety is cultivated by Thomas Rivers, from Sawbridgeworth in England, and was subsequently named 'Conference' in 1895 after the 'British National Pear Conference' where it was first exhibited. It was not long before this variety occupied a major position within European pear cultivation.
© Copyright Natalie Panga - All rights reserved. EXPLORED February 11, 2012.
* Best seen in larger size on black (click image above)