This is one of the younger members of the citrus family: the grapefruit is a cross between a sweet orange and a pomelo, and it was first documented in the eighteenth century in the Caribbean. The grapefruit was known as the shaddock – after the seafarer who is said to have bred the first grapefruit – until the nineteenth century. It received its present name because it appeared to grow on the tree in clusters that vaguely resembled bunches of grapes.
Its flavour, which hovers somewhere between bitter, tart and sweet, is only one of the grapefruit’s outstanding qualities. The fragrance is also unique. A US scientist investigated whether smell influences how old a person is perceived to be. During the experiment, the subjects wore perfumed masks and were shown photos of models and asked to guess their age. The scent of pink grapefruit emerged as a veritable fountain of youth: under the influence of its scent, men believed that the women they were shown were six years younger than their actual age. Women, on the other hand, proved more resistant to the effect of smell, and didn’t let any scent dupe them into misjudging a person’s age.