Sunday, November 21, 2010


Clockwise from bottom center: Concorde (large yellow), Bartlett
(large yellow), two Forelles, Bosc, two Seckels. Center: D'Anjou

Oh, jeez, sorry about that title. I really am. But… but… but it’s just that I’m comparing pears! And as I write this, it is STILL FUNNY!

OK, OK, OK. Down to business. So, this holiday coming in December: Beth and I have renamed it Sparklemas. Neither of us considers herself Christian, but we still want to celebrate the holiday of our childhoods. She likes the decorations. I like the food. And we know the reason for the season: it’s midwinter, the darkest time of the year, the time when we turn the corner. For thousands of years, people have celebrated because even though we might still starve or freeze to death this winter, at least we will do it during increasingly longer periods of daylight.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be getting ready. Beth will ornament her home with light and music. I will immerse myself in experiments of scent and flavor. On the big day, we’ll bring it all together: with sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, we’ll welcome light, hope, warmth, joy, and comfort into our own hearts and offer these gifts to those around us.

To do that, we’re going to need some pears.

But what kind? To find out, I bought a selection from the grocery store on Wednesday and let them ripen in a bowl until today, Sunday. They were beautiful: all sensuous curves, glowing colors, and perfume. It was almost a shame to eat them. But we tried each kind and we settled on our favorites.

Each of us agreed on our second favorite: good old Bartlett, the standard canning pear. Its classic shape and flavor, plus its cheerful yellow color, would make it a welcome guest on any fruit plate.

My favorite was Concorde. I think it’s the prettiest. It has a musky, almost melonlike flavor redolent of vanilla.

Beth’s favorite was Bosc. “Hands down,” she said. This pear is sweet with plenty of fragrance, but with a clean taste that appeals to her.

Here, in no particular order, are our tasting notes. Click on them to make them legible. Enjoy!