Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pavlova, The Embodiment of the Kiwi v Oz Rivalry

It's funny how one small dessert can become the essense of a rivalry between two countries.  One a small unassuming country very happy to make fun of themselves; the other a much larger, more well-known and imposing country with the attitudes that go along with it.  As someone who used to live in a country similar to the latter, it's refreshing to now be living in the former.  Before I came to this part of the world the term pavlova had not to my recollection entered my vocabulary (unless of course you count my bad pronunciations of the Russian Olympians and hockey players).

Pavlova, a dessert named after a Russian ballerina, is a meringue cake topped with whip cream and fruit.  And unbeknownst to the rest of the world there is a quiet war raging about where this dessert actually originated...was it New Zealand or was it Australia?

When Jessica Watson finished her round-the-world sailing voyage in Sydney last May the first thing she requested to eat was Pavlova...both countries jumped on that as further proof of her nationality (for the record: she was born in New Zealand and she moved recently to Australia). 

Today the answer has finally been solved around this tasty little dessert. included the above image with the simple caption:  "IT'S OURS: Oxford agrees with us."  They stuck their tongues out at the Aussies with the backing of the Oxford Dictionary.  That's right, the people behind the Oxford dictionary dedicated time to determine where the Pavlova actually originated and the answer is...New Zealand.

I particularly liked the quote from an old Australian codger who wasn't too happy about the new support for New Zealand, ''They can make all the claims they like, and the Oxford dictionary can go on like great academic know-it-alls, but I think most Australians would agree with me that the true pavlova belongs to Australia,'' the 86-year-old told the Sydney Morning Herald last night.

Let the battle rage the meantime there will be more Kiwi's sleeping easier tonight.  (Read the article here:  New Zealand wins pavlova war.)

Thank you to Meagan, my flatmate, for sharing this fun article and contributing to my further enjoyment of this wonderful country and its quirks.  I'm happy to be on the winning side.  Now we just need to work out who wants to claim Russell Crowe.


  1. Hi there,

    I'm happy to let Aussie have Russell Crowe as long as we rightfully get Pavlova. I konw which one I'd rather spend a long evening at home with.....