Nowadays a trip to your local grocery store is all it takes to get your hands on a perfectly fresh, golden, sweet, tropical treat of a pineapple. We have forgotten just how easy it is to get our hands on--in our humble opinion--the best fruit in the world, but that was not always the case. When Christopher Columbus first spotted the spiky crowns of a pineapple on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, he became the first european to enjoy this amazing fruit, and set the course for hundreds of years of pineapple pandemonium that saw pineapples going for small fortunes!
When pineapples were first discovered, they had to be imported by sea from the new world to the old, and sitting on ships for months on end, by the time they reached Europe they were often bruised and rotted, but that did not stop pineapple-mania from spreading to the nobility and wealthy who wanted this symbol of absolute luxury.
In the 17th century, 200 years of failing to grow pineapples in Europe, a few hothouses (early greenhouses) in England and the Netherlands succeeded in copying the precise tropical climates pineapples needed to grow, but the demand was always higher than the extremely low supply, and in conventional supply and demand economics, pineapples continued to become a symbol of extreme wealth-gracing the plates of King Louix XV, Catherine the Great, and Charles II (painted below).
America was not immune to this pineapple-mania even in the 1700s. Importing them from the Caribbean meant that any pineapple was going to be very expensive-costing up to $8000 in today's money-EACH! The high price came from the perishability, noverly, exoticism, and scarcity of the fruit (and let’s not forget the taste!). The wealthiest would throw parties with the pineapple as the centerpiece on the table-not to eat-but to look and to cement your social standing amongst your other ultra-wealthy peers. Pineapples were the epitome of luxury that they would even be rented out for the night where renters would take them to parties simply to carry around as if they were the hottest accessory. Only once they started to go bad would early American socialites finally get to eat their $8000 pineapple.
From the 1700s onwards, the pineapple became a symbol of wealth but also hospitality and its motifs took over the art world. Everything from bed posts to plates became to adopt the pineapple shape-a trend that we’re delighted to say still exists today! Only in the 1900s when James Dole started to mass produce Pineapples in Hawaii did pineapples become common place in the grocery stores of Europe, America, and the world. As pineapple lovers, we 100% understand the appeal of Pineapples throughout history, but can not be happier that long gone are the days that pineapples costed $8000 and pineapples can now be enjoyed by all!
Check out these tropical treasures that wont cost $8000 and will bring you pineapple joy all year round!!