August 6, 2012

The Portuguese Pera Rocha do Oeste

When you think pears, you think babies because pears are considered a safe and good fruit for the baby. I grew up enjoying eating fruit more than candy or cakes but many children do not like fruit very much. Specially if they have to peel it before eating it! This pear tastes good inside and outside. You can bite the outer skin because it tastes good. The pear is a very nutritious fruit, rich in vitamins and fibre. I don't know why apples are more popular! Pera Rocha is an excellent fruit to be eaten as a dessert or between meals.The Pera Rocha do Oeste can be eaten fresh, cooked (in syrup or boiled) or as an ingredient in all kinds of dishes. The Pera Rocha do Oeste - that's the name to keep in mind  because this variety only grows in Portugal -  is oval, the skin is fine and smooth,its colour is green and yellow. Inside the white pulp is hard and firm, crunchy, juicy and sweet. Around 1836 this variety was identified in the municipality of Sintra, on the property of Mr. Pedro António Rocha, a horse dealer from Sintra, noticed fruits with a crusty texture, a sweet aroma, and a refreshing taste on some tree he had in his property. This was a different kind of pear, an unusual fruit, whose original name is now the Pera Rocha do Oeste because it grows in the west coastline of Portugal, from Sintra to Leiria.


And now, a curiosity! This is one of the most famous fruit spirits from Portugal. It's produced at Quinta do Meiral - Lousã, where this industry is located. Pears grow inside bottles! The bottles are placed in the branches when they pear trees are still in bloom. This eau-de-vie or aguardente has an excellent aroma and taste.

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