Pears (Poires)

Random facts about pears in France, a familiar French expression using pears, best pears for cooking/baking and links to easy pear recipes – including our favourite French pear desserts.

crates of pears at the french market

Pear Season

Summer pears: July-August;
Autumn/Winter pears: August-April (but available all year round).

Random Facts about Pears in France

  • Pears came to France in the 17th Century. Louis XIV’s botanist, La Quintinye, started with many varieties at Le Potager du Roi in Versailles;
  • The Conference Pear was so named after the National Pear Conference in Britain in 1885;
  • Pears are rich in vitamin B9 and best consumed on their own at the table to keep their vitamin content. Serve raw with savoury in salads and cheese. Also delicious cooked in tarts, compotes, and poached in syrup or wine;
  • In the Loire/Touraine region, the tradition of drying pears called Poires Tappés continues since the 11th Century, notably in the village of Rivarennes;
  • Pears have a particular texture – they have a slight sandy crunch due to rock cells. Only quinces have the same characteristic;
  • Pears pair well with hazelnut and chocolate (try this pear crumble and Poire Belle Hélène), Roquefort cheese and beetroot/beet;
  • Preparing pears: like apples once peeled, it’s best to cover pears in lemon juice to avoid the fragile fruit naturally browning;
  • It’s best to store pears out of the fridge. Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days but if winter pears hard, can last longer stored in a cool dark place;
  • Poiré is a drink prepared like its more popular apple Cidre sister in Brittany and Normandy but made with fresh pear juice.

Fun French Expression with Pears

“Je suis une poire, ou quoi ?” or “C’est marqué Poire sur ma tête ?”
Familiar/colloquial expression meaning Do you think I’m a mug or stupid? Equally, French people say this pointing to their forehead, as if branded stupid (literally translated as Am I pear or what?)
(not to be used in good company!)

Best Pears To Use for Cooking or Baking

  • Pear Williams, Conference, Comice

French Pear Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes

From the market

From the kitchen