Pink grapefruit: the sweet and sour destiny of a late-blooming star!
The grapefruit, called pamplemousse in French, comes from the Dutch (who first introduced it in Europe): pampelmoes (pompel, big and limoes, lemon), derived from the Tamil pamparamāsu (bitter orange), belonging to the citrus family (referring to the Latin for lemon). Its rather curious name in in English, grapefruit, far removed from the fruit of the vine, comes from the fact it grows in bunches or clusters (grappe in French). Different varieties were brought back to Europe over the centuries, from Indochina and the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The original citruses, including the grapefruit, were almost all very sour and usually not very juicy. It is only when it was married to the sweet orange, according to botanists, that the modern pomelo, and therefore what we call the pink or red grapefruit, developed the characteristics we appreciate. Its scientific name reflects its dependency on its sweeter cousin: citrus aurentium dulcis forma decumana! The pink grapefruit, very popular in our day and age for its subtle sweet and sour balance, its refreshing juice and the lovely colors of its pulp, arrived very late in Europe, after the Second World War, when the Americans marketed it overseas as the breakfast of Hollywood stars. Today, it is eaten at every meal, as a refreshing addition to savory dishes (with seafoods, for example) and in sweet treats, as well as cocktails.