Depending on where you ask for it, the Williams “Bon Chrétien” Pear actually has three names. Its lesser-known iteration, “Bon Chrétien”, translating literally to “good Christian” arose from the tale of King Louis XI’s calling the holy man Francis of Paola to his deathbed as a healer in 1483, with the latter offering a pear from his native Calabria to be planted. There is a firmer root in tracking the pear’s origins to be from England dating from 1765 to 1770, after which the pear was named after its commercial vendor Richard Williams. After being introduced into the United States in 1799, the estate in which they were grown was acquired by Enoch Bartlett, and so these pears also go by the name Bartlett pears in the US today.
Although it’s not one of the most stereotypical ingredients to reach for when preparing dishes or drinks, Williams pears are truly one of the best sources of Vitamin C and dietary fibre. As a result, they improve digestive health and maintain general physical wellbeing, and are even linked to slowing down symptoms of aging due to its collagen content. Because of its richness in antioxidants and its anti-inflammatory properties, this variety of pears help its consumers maintain blood pressure as well as heart and bone health. However, the best part about these pears are their inexplicably unique flavour: sweet, citrusy, and instantly recognisable from the first bite.
RIPE FOR THE TAKING
Formerly dubbed “butter fruits” due to their smooth, buttery texture, the multitude of pear types range across an entire spectrum with difference in hardness, size and even colour. Williams Pears, beyond growing just a shade darker, turn instead a visible yellow upon ripening from its preceding green colour. They are also particularly juicy and lean towards being one of the softer pears in the market, which makes them more ideal for canning or eating fresh. However, for those looking to assimilate these untapped flavours into equally distinctive beverages, here’s a few ways you may be able to do just that without blending the whole fruit into a glass.