Feijoas and Jesus

Most kiwi kids of my generation (1970/ 1980s) grew up with a fairly ubiquitous set of childhood memories. These were of course the goldens years prior to the neoliberal reforms of Rogernomics,and the prying open of New Zealand to the whims of global capitalism. They were the good old days of state proectionism and monopolies, of Keynsian welfarism, and where it seems childhood memories too, were standard issue.

One familiar memory to most is feijoa season in April. Pronounced by New Zealanders as "fee-jo-ah" despite it's South American origins, (it is a guava) most of the kids I knew had a feijoa tree or two in their back yard and we would gorge ourselves most of the season on free feijoas. No one bought feijoas. You left all but the perfect ones to rot on the ground (much to the disgruntlement of talk back radio listeners in the South Island, who would moan on about how spoilt North Islanders were especially Aucklanders at any and every opportunity). But in the North Island where warmer weather prevailed free feijoas were like a birth right.


I miss feijoas. When I first left New Zealand and moved to Melbourne, I was disapppointed to discover that instead of free flowing feijoas, they were instead considered an exotic and luxury fruit sold for $2 a piece. Today the humble New Zealand feijoa (New Zealand is the world's largest feijoa exporter) is now fast becoming a novelty item on the menus of celebrity chefs around the world. Thomas Keller has a feijoa sorbet on his menu. Hock is paying USD $2.70 per feijoa to have them on his menu.

Knowing how impressionable New Zealanders can be (I am one afterall), it is perhaps unsurprising then that despite the fact that feijoas still grow in many New Zealand backyards for free, upscale dining establishments in Auckland are adding this once humble fruit to their dessert menus, and charging for it too.

A while ago my friend told me a story of being in an Auckland restaurant where he ordered the feijoa crumble.

"It's fee-yo-aa" said the waiter stressing the spanish pronounciation of the "j", not "fee-jo-aah".

New Zealand ever more self conscious within the bold new globalised world, has not lost it's propensity for cultural cringe and longing for international sophistication.....despite bringing feijoas to the world

Heesus Christ


    haha classic!
    everything is expensive back home these days!

    i miss feijoas warm from the sun too.

    On 19 May 2008 at 14:30 Anonymous said...

    Okay, i am very curious you said every chef have receipes of feijoas on their menus?
    Could you tell me all of it you know.
    It is for a book i am doing about it, in a contry where no body know this fruits.


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