NZ lifts lid on great pavlova debate

Who invented the pavlova, Australia or New Zealand? According to a recent opinion poll of 1100 Australians, it appears the jury is still out.

In a survey conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), over half of those polled (56%) believed the pavlova was invented in Australia, with the remainder choosing New Zealand (29%) or unsure (14%).

Interestingly, younger Australians aged 16 to 24 years are more likely to believe the pavlova was invented in New Zealand (39%) than senior Australians aged 50 years and over (23%).

Australia is officially credited with inventing the pavlova in 1935 in Perth when Bert Sachse named his meringue cake dish, ‘pavlova’.

However, New Zealand published a recipe for ‘meringue cake’ before anything like it was known in Australia.

History of the great pavlova debate

The pavlova debate started following the tour of the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova to Australia and New Zealand in 1926.

That same year, according to the book ‘Anna Pavlova: Her Life and Art’ by Keith Money, a chef at a Wellington hotel created a dish inspired by Pavlova’s tutu, draped in green silk roses.

The dish consisted of a meringue case in the shape of the tutu, whipped cream for the froth of the skirt and kiwifruit slices for the green roses.

The first published reference to the pavlova was in 1927 in ‘Davis Dainty Dishes’ by Davis Gelatine New Zealand. This recipe for pavlova included gelatin.

However, it was a recipe published in 1929 that lead New Zealand to lay claim to pavlova.

A New Zealand cookbook by E. Futter titled ‘Home Cookery for New Zealand’ featured the recipe ‘Meringue with Fruit Filling’, the original pavlova recipe.

Bert Sachse later admitted he found the meringue recipe submitted by a New Zealand resident in a 1935 ‘Women’s Mirror’ magazine and used it to create what he named, ‘pavlova’.

New Zealand innovation

In addition to the pavlova, New Zealand lays claim to the creation of avocado oil, the world’s first spreadable butter, gold kiwifruit and carbon-neutral wine (Grove Hill).

According to New Zealand Consul-General and Trade Commissioner Shona Bleakley, demands for the freshness, taste and quality of New Zealand’s food and beverage have surged in recent years, with exports doubling to $NZ15 billion since 1990.

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