Black Worcester Pear

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

Black Worcester is probably the oldest English pear still in use. It is large and rounded, irregular in shape. It has dark mahogany skin with russet freckles, color that has given it its name. Although it is disease resistant and easily cultivated, it is not produced for commercial purposes, but can only be found in private orchards.

It is said that the fruits should not be consumed right after being harvested, but should rather be stored for a while, because they taste better: harvested in autumn, they should rest until January at least, but can be preserved until the spring, a characteristic that made it very popular. This type of pear is recommended for cooking rather than eating fresh. After one to two hours of cooking, its hard texture becomes juicy and delicious.

The exact origin of the Black Worcester pear is not known. Some think Romans introduced the first fruits, but the first official traces come from monks who grew them in the gardens of Warden Abbey in the village of Old Warden as early as 1388. It is also said that they were probably eaten by English troops in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Black Worcester pears were consumed commonly during Queen Elizabeth’s and Shakespeare’s time, often served stewed or in pie, like the Warden pies, a popular desert also quoted by a character in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale:“I must have saffron to colour the Warden pies”.

In 1575, Queen Elizabeth noticed a pear tree, moved intentionally to be found near the gate she was supposed to go through during her visit to Worcester, and decided to have the pears added to the city’s coat of arms. They can still be found on the top left corner of the city’s blazon today.

Back to the archive >

Territory

StateUnited Kingdom
Region

England - Midlands Occidentali

Production area:Worcester

Other info

Categories

Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Daniele Biamino