Apples and pears are like two siblings with nothing common. Oh sure they may have sprung from the same family, grown up in the same household, but when it comes to their disposition, passtimes and taste in friends, they couldn’t be more different.
Both the pear and the apple call the mountainous areas of modern-day Kazakhstan home. Both traveled the Silk Road west to Europe and east to China and Japan. Both are so-called pome fruits (members of the rose family along with quinces and Asian medlars and loquats). They’re climacteric and heterozygous (see The Great Apple Crap Shoot for more on that). Aside from that, though, they’re barely on speaking terms.
Where one is firm and crunchy, the other is soft and yielding. Where one is feisty, tart and working class, the other is juicy, buttery and sophisticated. Where one is at home in pie, the other luxuriates in tarts and alongside the finest chocolates, wines and cheeses. Where one makes hard cider, scrumpy and applejack, the other makes eau de vie de poire.
No, it seems there is no reconciling these two. Let’s just hope they at least call each other at Christmas.