An ode to this deliciously quirky fruit
A little tropical flair in your interiors can only be a good thing. It induces an air of decadent relaxation. Think coastal retreats, lush oases, exotic paradises… Salt-licked air, sea, space… How’s the serenity? 😉
For this reason, we thought we’d spare some moments for the humble pineapple, trending right now in decor accents. Did you know that this charismatic fruit has a rich history of adorning our interiors and tables?
The pineapple is thought to have originated in Brazil and Paraguay. It reached the Caribbean islands in the dug-out canoes of the Indian maritime tribes who traversed the globe by water to explore, trade and pillage (eep!). Known as anana or “excellent fruit” (cryptic), they featured in tribal feasts + rites of passage and were even made into fine wine (we approve).
Though known to be a bit of a brute, we have Spaniard Christopher Columbus to thank for discovering the pineapple (a close second to his discovery of the New World). On his voyage to the Caribbean Islands in 1493, Columbus anchored off Guadeloupe to explore the lush isles. In an abandoned village, he found cookpots containing human body parts (delicious!) and a wealth of fruits and vegetables (always eat your greens!), including the pineapple.
He nicknamed it the ‘pina’ for its resemblance to the pine cone. The apple part of the name? Grew attached to the fruit on account of its apple-like pulp.
In Renaissance Europe, the pineapple attained celebrity. Beneath that rough exterior, its sweet, sweet centre came as an enchanting surprise in a time when sugar cane and fresh fruit were scarce. The expense and the perilous nature of trade routes to the West Indes and the Orient ensured its rarity – so much so that the pineapple became a status symbol on the tables of the rich and upwardly mobile. Pineapples were even rented out by shrewd entrepreneurs (well, I’ll be!).
Having its singular silhouette on your dining table meant that you were not only resourceful and connected, but that you held your guests in high regard. In this way in addition to being a gastronomic measure of social standing, the pineapple became associated with hospitality, friendship and welcome.
Due to the climate in Europe, the first pineapple wasn’t hothoused until the late 17th century by the royal gardener – the aptly named Mr John Rose – for Charles II. So highly revered was this fruit (sometimes referred to as the princess of fruits!) that Charles even had his portrait painted receiving one as a gift.
This love affair with this rugged looking fruit was long-standing. Before the interwebs, visiting and receiving guests was the focal point of the social calendar and a means of receiving news. Keeping up with the Joneses meant matching their gastro gusto. Dinners were visual extravaganzas, spectacles, promising innovative tastes. Tables overflowed with dishes and floral arrangements with the pineapple occupying pride of place.
It’s no surprise then that the pineapple began to appear on textiles and tiles, decorative arts and furniture, china, pottery, planters, linen and napery and architraves. It is said to have inspired the coat of arms and it can be found carved above the doors of homes and in the gateposts of colonial American homes, assuring your warm welcome. To this day, it remains a symbol of generosity, friendship and invitation.
Add a little whimsy to your own home with this individual-looking fruit. It makes for a charming decor accent and it endows your guests with feelings of good will!
Featured image: Fin & Ivy Pineapple Digital Prints, available online at Zanui.