New Zealand’s dessert named for a ballerina

I love a good culinary controversy, and the question of who can claim to have invented the Pavlova is a good one.

Pavlova origin story

Anna Pavlova was a world-famous Russian ballerina who performed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1926. While staying at a Wellington hotel the chef there created a dish for her and the Pavlova was born.

But, not so fast. Australia also claims Pavlova provenance because of a recipe that supposedly appeared in an Aussie cookbook earlier in the same year.

Others say Pavlova was not a invention of a single person but a so-called multiple discovery.

So, whose origin story of Pavlova is correct? Turns out, it’s an American dish. Researchers Dr. Andrew Paul Wood and Annabelle Utrecht have traced the Pavlova to a German torte which was modified in America to most closely resemble the current Pavlova. Unsurprisingly, Kiwi fruit is one of the most popular Pavlova toppings.

Where to get Pavlova in Auckland

There’s lots of variations on the Pavlova, especially when it comes to the toppings. I like the Pavlova at Cibo where you can choose from three different kinds, including a salted caramel and peanut brittle Pavlova. $14US for dessert might seem steep, but these folks know their Pavlova. Euro on the waterfront also makes a mean Pavlova which they top with sorbet.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, PortoSintraMonsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent