My best friend Mark has a bad cold. I told him to follow what the father of medicine, Hippocrates, said: “Let your food be your medicine.” And so I gave him a bowlful of KIWIFRUIT.
Globalization for you: these kiwifruits which I bought at a Mexican market were imported from Italy!
Many people call them kiwi, and that’s not correct. A kiwi is a flightless bird; it’s the national symbol of New Zealand, and it looks like this:
The word kiwi is also used to refer to the people of New Zealand; it’s a moniker that they don’t begrudge. Read this snipet from a news item about the America’s Cup sailboat race in 2013:
The Kiwis crushed the momentum Oracle gained with its heart-stopping win in Race 4 on Sunday. Team New Zealand leads 4 to minus-1 and needs five more wins to claim the oldest trophy in international sports for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
The kiwifuit used to be called Chinese gooseberry, for indeed it is a native of that country. It was cultivated in New Zealand beginning 1904, when a missionary brought some plantings after visiting China. The first tasters thought the fruit reminded them of gooseberries, and so they called them Chinese gooseberries.
Although kiwifruit has gooseberry flavor, it is not related to the said fruit, shown above.
The name change — from Chinese gooseberry to kiwifruit — happened in 1959. The New Zealand produce company Turners & Growers, facing a marketing “problem” because it was the height of the Cold War, announced that it would be exporting the produce as “kiwifruit.” The promoters took the Maori name of a local bird which bears some similarity to the mature fruit. (The Maoris, as you probably know, are the native peoples of New Zealand. They call the local bird “kiwi” after the sound of its call.)
Worldwide cultivation, however, has initiated another name change. To distinguish New Zealand kiwifruit from the same product being sold by Italy, Greece, Chile, France, and the United States, many NZ exporters now call them Zespri.
The dramatic appearance of sliced kiwifruit makes it a favorite for many desserts, such as the trifle below.