What Makes Harry & David's Royal Riviera Pears So Unique

One of the most notable products of Harry & David — the gourmet foods and gifts company that's been around since 1934 — is easily the Royal Riviera Pear. These pears are sold by the box and wrapped in gold paper, making them memorable just for their presentation. But they also boast a strong flavor that is bound to be even more memorable — the company's website claims that these pears are "so big and juicy, you'll want to eat them with a spoon." So what makes them so unique?

These pears — which can be traced back to France in 1856 where, at the time, they were exclusive to fine dining restaurants — are part of the Comice pear variety. Comice pears are known for being especially sweet and tender. These pears remain somewhat of an exclusive product today because they require a very specific climate and soil combination to grow. Harry & David produces the Royal Riviera Pears out of Medford, Oregon, one of the few places that fits the bill for the right growing environment.

Exclusivity, of course, almost always equals a high price point. In the case of Royal Riviera Pears, a box of nine pears is sold for $39.99, which comes out to about $4.45 per pear — a bit steeper than what you'll find for the average pear in a grocery store. But if you like your pears extra juicy, these hard-to-grow pears may be worth a try.

What dishes to make with Royal Riviera Pears

If you get your hands on a box of the Royal Riviera Pears, then you'll need some recipe ideas to utilize the pears to the best of their ability — after you've enjoyed a few just on their own, in all of their natural deliciousness, of course.

On the official website, Jane Hunts, the Merchandise Manager of Fruit for Harry & David recommends adding them to a salad or a cheese plate (specifically, paired with soft cheeses, such as Brie, or sharp cheeses, such as manchego), but to avoid baking them because they're a bit too juicy and will break down. For the salad idea, you can try using them for Tasting Table's chicken, pear, and walnut chopped salad recipe — with pears being one of the titular ingredients, the Royal Rivieras will have plenty of room to shine with this dish. Another good way to highlight the pears is in a sandwich. You could pair the Royal Riviera with turkey slices and sharp cheddar for a simple yet delicious Royal Riviera-led meal.

Hunts also explained that the Royal Riviera Pears work well for pear butter, so you could whip that up and use it to spread on toast or scones. Plus, making your own batch of Royal Riviera pear butter is a good workaround to the no-baking rule — once it's in a new form, you can integrate the pear butter into various baked goods, such as muffins or cakes.