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.
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.