The Oxford English Dictionary has once again stirred up the tran-Tasman debate over the origin of the meringue-based dessert, listing in its latest online edition that it was first baked in New Zealand in 1927.
The recipe was included in a book called Davis Dainty Dishes, published by the Davis Gelatine company, and it was a
multi-coloured jelly dish, the dictionary says.
Kiwis claim the meringue version also originated in NZ, with recipes appearing in publications in 1928 and 1929.
The Australian claim for the pav centres on a recipe created by Bert Sachse, a chef at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, in 1935.
New Zealand pavlova expert Helen Leach, from the University of Otago, said while the original recipe had evolved, the Kiwi claims stacked up in their favour.
“I can find at least 21 pavlova recipes in New Zealand cookbooks by 1940, which was the year the first Australian ones appeared,” said Dr Leach, who has published a book called The Pavlova Story.
The first true pavlova recipe was written in 1929, for a “pavlova cake”, published in the NZ Dairy Exporter annual, she told news website stuff.co.nz.
“I am sorry that the Oxford didn’t quite get the real one,” she said.
“Although I don’t really believe in the competition, I’m more of an evolutionist.”
Australian culinary legend Margaret Fulton tried to brush off the ruling on behalf of the nation.
“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 Fairfax Media.
The popular dessert was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.