Kerala , my home state in India is blessed with a lot of locally grown tropical fruits. Pineapple is one among them. This exotic fruit is so cheap here that it is available for less than half a USD a KG! And it is abundantly available during the season.But when I read somewhere that pineapple was a status symbol among the elite in Europe some time back- in 16th and 17th century- I decided to make a trail of it to have a better understanding of the theme.
Pineapple is a native of South America especially to Brazil and Paraguay. It was known as 'Ananas Comosus' in Guarani, a local live language which existed there from the days of the conquest of the Spanish. It was Christopher Columbus in 1496 who brought a lone pineapple which survived his long voyage of weeks- in a ship which had only wind power- from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe to Spain. He presented it to King Ferdinand as "pina de Indes"- Pine of the Indians thinking that he had just discovered India for this island!. The king fell for the taste of the fruit which was unknown to anyone in Europe till then! The hey days of pineapple commenced that day!!
As pineapples started being available in a limited way in Europe, the wealthy went wild with the taste of this fruit. Along with the taste, pineapple became synonymous with nobility and wealth as it became the favorite of Charles II of Scotland, Catherine the Great of Russia, Louis XV of France and King Ferdinand of Spain!
From the Mayas to "Pineries" of Europe...