Seville as an Orange
🍊 The bitter orange trees on the streets of Seville are as integral to its landscape as its Gothic churches. They ripen starting in December, so they are also seen as adornment for the holidays. The oranges are not the most pleasant to eat, but are known for the best marmalade.
In Much Ado About Nothing, in the late 1500s, Shakespeare makes the quip that a character was: "civil as an orange." And because in this case, civil is pronounced “civ-VIL,” he was referencing the Spanish town and making a joke on food origins.
The bitter orange is actually a hybrid between the mandarin and the pomelo. Originally, it is from Southeast Asia, and it reached Sicily by about 1000, and then Seville in about 1300, where it clearly took hold.
Interestingly, it also took hold in Surrey, England right around the time Shakespeare was writing his lines. Sir Walter Raleigh had taken sour orange seeds to England and they began bearing regular crops in 1595, but were killed by cold in 1739.
Stay warm friends! And happy holidays!