Is it a bird, is it a plane, no.. it’s a pineberry

10 Apr

Will you pine for them?

If there is one thing that I love, that makes me part with my readies, then it’s a gimmick.  If there are two things I love it’s a gimmick and a freebie – oh for the pro bono gimmick! – and so despite these pineberries being priced at a rather hefty £3.99 for a teeny 125g, when I popped into Waitrose on the Kings Road the other day, I kind of HAD to invest.

Last summer I fell for that other berry gimmick – the strasberry – and enjoyed the silly splicing of two berries, the strawberry and the raspberry, for a fleeting and surprising experience.  The pineberry is a produced by the Dutch and is a “new” fruit – a hybrid of Fragaria chiloensis, originating in South American, and Fragaria virginiana, originating in North America.  The wikipedia page on the pineberry informs me that it has the same genetic make-up as a common strawberry and indeed it looks rather like a strawberry that has been inverted – the pips red and the flesh white.

So whilst looking like an inside-out strawberry, the pineberry is said to smell and taste like a pineapple. Such wizardry!  Well, the first thing I noticed upon eating a pineberry, was how very watery and mushy it was. It did have a nice summery, tropical whiff about it, but very nearly collapsed in my fingers.  There was none of that juicy tautness that you get when you pop a summer’s strawberry between your teeth.

Don't believe the hype?

The taste was a huge let-down.  Saccharine with none of the sweetness of strawberry and none of the punch of a pineapple.  Watery and insubstantial.  It was nearly not there.  Except it was there and was very nearly as expensive, pound for pound, as rocket fuel.  I had been hoodwinked.  This is the problem with loving gimmicks as I do.  Rather then plumping for a sweet and succulent strawberry or a tart and juicy pineapple – the perfect flavours for this early summer sun – I had been distracted by the showy, jazzy, empty pineberry.  Even if this gimmick had turned out to be free, I would have been unimpressed.  Certainly, this ingredient of the week is a cautionary tale.  Just say no kids, just say no.

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