Pavlova Making with Jane

Caitlin Barnett Assistant Director


April 16, 2020

Some of you may have tuned in for our Instagram Live with our lovely Resident Director, Jane Gunn-Lewis showing us how to make a pavlova (if you don't already follow us on Instagram, follow us @ArcadiaNewZealand). We were so flattered with the overwhelming response and requests to have the Live somehow saved - and guess what? We did it! If you missed it, or just want to watch it again, you can see the whole thing on the Arcadia Abroad YouTube page, right here! And this got me thinking... How did the pavlova come to be such a popular Kiwi dessert? Well, let's get into it...

For those of you that are not familiar with the lovely, airy, creamy perfection that is a pavlova, it is ultimately a meringue decorated with whipped cream and fruit. In New Zealand it is traditional to have kiwifruit and strawberries on top, but you can really choose any fruit you want. Some people will also slather on some lemon curd before the whipped cream for a nice, lemony surprise. Kiwis often eat pavlova during the summer, and ideally someone will bring one to the Christmas for dessert. 

There is a bit of controversy around the pavlova, though. For years and years the origin of the pavlova has been fought over by the Kiwis and the Aussies. Naturally, Kiwis claim it is from New Zealand and Aussies claim it is from Australia. The story begins with the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. It is said that somewhere in her tour around Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s the dessert was made in her honor, and has been called pavlova ever since - and argued over which country the recipe belongs to! 

Finally, in 2020 the Oxford English Dictionary settled the dispute by tracing the origins of the first known pavlova recipe. And... (drum roll, please) ...the pavlova goes to New Zealand! The first recorded recipe was found in a New Zealand cookbook from 1927. The first published recipe in Australia is from 1935. It is also worth noting that New Zealand is the home to the largest pavlova in the world, several times over! 

So why not give it a go? Come to New Zealand and try a pavlova! Arcadia New Zealand holds a pavlova making demonstration and decorating contest every semester, and it just isn't quite the same when you eat it outside of Aotearoa.