The pineapple is also known as the queen of fruit – and quite rightly so. Its exotic appearance, delectable scent and sweet flavour have captivated people for centuries – ever since the first pineapples came to Europe with Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th century.
There was only one problem: it was exceedingly difficult to actually obtain a pineapple: the fruits, which do not keep very long and do not continue to ripen after picking, proved almost impossible to ship. To be served a fresh pineapple was truly a once-in-a-lifetime sensation.
In light of these difficulties, it is little surprise that in the 17th century, the European aristocracy set out to grow pineapples in their gardens and orangeries. Anyone who was someone would have a pineapple plant in their greenhouse, and – failing that – would decorate their houses and parks with pineapple-shaped details and embellishments.
It took steamships to truly democratise pineapples, as transport times became dramatically shorter. The invention of canning also brought tinned pineapples to the tables of the masses. The latter is a key ingredient in the iconic “Toast Hawaii”, the name being a nod to the fact that pineapples were first canned on a major scale at the beginning of the 20th century in Hawaii.