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Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears

Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears
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  • Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears

    Post #1 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:07 am
    Post #1 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:07 am Post #1 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:07 am
    I’ve been eating Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears time since the middle of the last century. In the past three years, though, I have noticed a steady decline in quality.

    These fruits used to be the Platonic paradigm of peardom, the absolute surreal ideal of lush fresh moist fruity flavorfulness. Last year, I noticed a decline in appearance. This year, several of the pears were more than just mottled with a rusty patina – they were scarred, bruised, beat-up. And the taste…well, I had one for breakfast and it was (it pains me to say) dry and mealy.

    So I called Harry and David, and their iron-clad guarantee means they will send another box, but I’m suddenly dubious.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:16 am
    Post #2 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:16 am Post #2 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:16 am
    We received a box of pears and apples this year. It was my first experience with H&D. I thought the pears were very good but I don't usually eat a lot of store-bought pears. So I didn't have a lot to compare them to. My favorite pear is the Asian pear. I like the really big ones you can get at Korean groceries.

    But, the apples from H&D were the reall standouts for me. I wasn't expecting much from the apples. There are so many varieties now and good apples from farmers markets and such that I just thought it was kind of a throw-in for the gift pack. But they were really great! Crisp & juicy, lots of apple flavor. Much more so that any of the store-bought variety.
  • Post #3 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:24 am
    Post #3 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:24 am Post #3 - December 22nd, 2005, 10:24 am
    My mother always send us some sort of food basket for the holidays (even though she lives 10 minutes away) but unfortunately she's always making bad choices, at least as far as we're concerned (but we tell her they're great anyway, of course.) For several years in a row she sent us big collections of dried fruit, which no one in this house likes very much (but the neighbors were very happy with it.) Since we finally allowed as how we weren't really big on the dried fruit, this year she sent us instead a big package from Harry and David, complete with the pears. Since it's the first time I've had them, I can't compare them to previous years, but they seemed extremely ordinary to me (as were the apples.) The H&D pears were nice and big, but I happened to have some nice little pears from Oakton Market in the house that were much better. I'm going to give my mom the Zingerman's catalogue and hope for better next year.
    ToniG
  • Post #4 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:14 pm
    Post #4 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:14 pm Post #4 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:14 pm
    My H&D gift pears(thanks, mom) arrived in need of a bit of ripening, but were perfect, lush, and juicy once ready. The real H&D find this year was their oddly salty, addictive baklava; who'd a thunk?
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #5 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:25 pm
    Post #5 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:25 pm Post #5 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:25 pm
    Christopher Gordon wrote:My H&D gift pears(thanks, mom) arrived in need of a bit of ripening, but were perfect, lush, and juicy once ready. The real H&D find this year was their oddly salty, addictive baklava; who'd a thunk?


    They usually need a few days of ripening, but I'm glad to hear that yours were perfect -- gives me hope the next batch will be better.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:38 pm
    Post #6 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:38 pm Post #6 - December 22nd, 2005, 12:38 pm
    I've only had one bad experience in the past(similar to your first box). I didn't think to complain. Good luck on your next batch. Mine were especially good this year, but, boy, when they start to go...they go.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #7 - December 22nd, 2005, 1:56 pm
    Post #7 - December 22nd, 2005, 1:56 pm Post #7 - December 22nd, 2005, 1:56 pm
    We have received a box of pears every year for about 20 years, and i agree that the quality may be lower than in the past. I also think that the quality of supermarket pears has improved, so that the H & D ones may just not be as special as they seemed in the past. I can attest to their ironclad guarantee. Several times in the past we have had issues and they have always replaced them. This year we found them on the doorstep at 8am, and a check with the ups website showed they had been left there at 8pm the night before, apparently without the doorbell being rung. Since it had been 10 degrees that night, I called H&D and told them that i feared the worst, even though i hadnt tasted them. The rep said she would send out a replacement box and that she hoped that the first ones would end up being ok too. Excellent customer service, but I guess that with the prices they charge, they can afford to replace a few. -Will
  • Post #8 - December 23rd, 2005, 11:15 pm
    Post #8 - December 23rd, 2005, 11:15 pm Post #8 - December 23rd, 2005, 11:15 pm
    Hammond--
    I've had the same experience with the Royal Rivieras over the past few years. I ordered a replacement the year before last, which was just as mediocre as the original. What a let-down! I used to count the days until they were available. This year I did not even order them--sad, really. But I am hopeful about the pears I bought at Treasure Island -- last year they were great all season. Trial and error is my new tactic. And you can always poach the inferior pears in some glogg mix and red wine to try to salvage them. As long as the texture isn't truly mealy, they will be palatable.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #9 - December 23rd, 2005, 11:37 pm
    Post #9 - December 23rd, 2005, 11:37 pm Post #9 - December 23rd, 2005, 11:37 pm
    Josephine wrote:And you can always poach the inferior pears in some glogg mix and red wine to try to salvage them. As long as the texture isn't truly mealy, they will be palatable.


    Exactly my plan. They are not lost, but not really enjoyable in their native form; tomorrow, they go into the poach (I'm thinking a ginger-based dessert-type item).

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #10 - December 24th, 2005, 10:42 am
    Post #10 - December 24th, 2005, 10:42 am Post #10 - December 24th, 2005, 10:42 am
    Perhaps my pears suffered due to our freezing weather of the past few weeks.

    I was preparing to poach the Harry & David pears today, and I noticed that the one in the heavier foil looked juicier than the others, so I ate half. It was way more luscious than the others I'd eaten, leading me to speculate that, perhaps, the foil acted like some kind of insulation, and that the weather is more to blame for the poor quality of the shipment than Harry and David.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #11 - December 24th, 2005, 6:40 pm
    Post #11 - December 24th, 2005, 6:40 pm Post #11 - December 24th, 2005, 6:40 pm
    As I am in New York, my pears were shipped here, and our weather hasn't been as bad as Chicago (it has actually been rather pleasant). Our Royal Rivieras arrived in fine shape, needing a few days of ripening. I did notice one or two pears with soft spots on the inside, but most of them were as advertised. Last year was the first year that we ordered them, and perhaps these were not quite as spectacular as last year, but they were pretty good. Of the twelve monthly deliveries fruits we ordered only one was supermarket average and two were no better than good, but several were wonderful.
  • Post #12 - January 9th, 2020, 11:40 pm
    Post #12 - January 9th, 2020, 11:40 pm Post #12 - January 9th, 2020, 11:40 pm
    I've seen the adds for H&D for decades, but I had never tried them until this year, when I received a gift box of three fruits. The oranges were perfect looking but otherwise were just like oranges I can buy locally--very nice, but not earthshaking. The apples were delicious and crisp and lovely. Really enjoyed those. Only problem was that the type was not identified. Box just said "fresh apples."

    However, the thing that made me want to post about the fruit is the pears. I've never had pears like these before. They were larger than any others I've seen, and eating them was more like drinking than eating. They were amazing--juicy, fragrant, flavorful. Had to eat them standing over the kitchen sink.

    So can one buy Royal Riviera pears anywhere other than through H&D? Is this a proprietary breed? I don't want them all the time -- and to be honest, living alone makes polishing off a load of fruit a challenge, even giving some of it away. But I'd love to pick up one or two of those pears at other times, if they can be found elsewhere.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #13 - January 10th, 2020, 7:16 am
    Post #13 - January 10th, 2020, 7:16 am Post #13 - January 10th, 2020, 7:16 am
    According to this Eater article, they are well-cared for comice pears.

    https://www.eater.com/2017/12/20/168013 ... ra-history
  • Post #14 - January 10th, 2020, 12:23 pm
    Post #14 - January 10th, 2020, 12:23 pm Post #14 - January 10th, 2020, 12:23 pm
    Darren72 wrote:According to this Eater article, they are well-cared for comice pears.

    https://www.eater.com/2017/12/20/168013 ... ra-history


    Thank you. Any idea of stores that sell them in this area (northern or northwester suburbs)? Or is this something one will only find at farmers' markets?
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #15 - January 10th, 2020, 1:00 pm
    Post #15 - January 10th, 2020, 1:00 pm Post #15 - January 10th, 2020, 1:00 pm
    Cynthia wrote:So can one buy Royal Riviera pears anywhere other than through H&D? Is this a proprietary breed? I don't want them all the time -- and to be honest, living alone makes polishing off a load of fruit a challenge, even giving some of it away. But I'd love to pick up one or two of those pears at other times, if they can be found elsewhere.

    Until a week or so ago, Trader Joe's was selling boxes of Harry & David pears ($6.99 for six big ones, if memory serves). I think the season is now over (at least at TJ) so you'll have to wait until next year. Mark your calendar for December 2020!
  • Post #16 - January 10th, 2020, 1:23 pm
    Post #16 - January 10th, 2020, 1:23 pm Post #16 - January 10th, 2020, 1:23 pm
    Sunset has Comice pears in season but I am not sure when it ends. Have not looked lately. They are the same kind Harry and David uses and are usually very good.

    -Will
  • Post #17 - January 10th, 2020, 2:28 pm
    Post #17 - January 10th, 2020, 2:28 pm Post #17 - January 10th, 2020, 2:28 pm
    Comice pears ripen very late and so cannot be grown in Michigan. In the Pacific Northwest harvest is basically in November IIRC.

    There have been some available fairly recently, but the season is pretty much over for this year. Apparently there have been some distributor overstocks as HarvesTime had a batch at $ 0.69 per pound for a short time in December. More recently the Cermak Produce on Kedzie had some at the same price. Most of these looked pretty tired, but I was able to find two good bets. We ate the last one for lunch dessert today.

    In past years the Elmwood Park Caputo's was a fairly reliable source, basically in December. We have not been there recently, so I do not know if that is still true.
  • Post #18 - January 10th, 2020, 2:53 pm
    Post #18 - January 10th, 2020, 2:53 pm Post #18 - January 10th, 2020, 2:53 pm
    Im pretty sure you can get the Harry and David Royal Riviera pears at Trader Joes too.
  • Post #19 - January 10th, 2020, 4:08 pm
    Post #19 - January 10th, 2020, 4:08 pm Post #19 - January 10th, 2020, 4:08 pm
    According to that Eater article, 1-800-Flowers owns H&D now. That makes a lot of sense since they're both specialty catalog sellers.
  • Post #20 - January 10th, 2020, 9:14 pm
    Post #20 - January 10th, 2020, 9:14 pm Post #20 - January 10th, 2020, 9:14 pm
    Thanks, all -- not just for the shopping options, but also for the insights into why one doesn't regularly see these pears in the grocery store. Nice to eat something seasonally.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com

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