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Pineapple Paradise

By Cathy Christensen
Posted: April 23, 2008

As the weather warms and I am able to spend more time outdoors, tantalizing thoughts start creeping into my tired brain about a sunny beach vacation. My favorite getaway is the idea of a week or two with sun, sand and a whole stack of books just waiting to be read, and it appeals to the very core of my being. Although I will make it there eventually this summer, until I can experience the delicious stickiness of salt water on my skin, I can enjoy the next best thing: the most summery culinary treat imaginable—succulent pineapple.

In the kitchen
     The bright yellow flesh of this fruit, which got its name from the Spanish word for pine cone, is available fresh and is canned for distribution worldwide.1 Native to southern Brazil and Paraguay,2 the pineapple is a key ingredient in Polynesian cuisine. It’s ripening takes five to six months,3 and you can tell it is ready to be eaten when the stem is easily removed.1
     With its interesting texture, beautiful color and sweet taste, pineapple is a favorite on spa cuisine menus throughout the world, as well. The Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa in Indonesia features Mixed Fresh Fruit in a Pineapple Shell with a Mint Yogurt Dressing as a starter, and The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Maui, Hawaii, takes advantage of its pineapple-friendly location by offering several treats on its spa cuisine menu. They include the Earth & Sea Combo, which pairs up chilled shrimp, soba noodles, and grilled Maui pineapple summer rolls with soy-chili sauce, and for dessert, the Maui Gold Pineapple Turnover, made of hot rum- and vanilla-spiked pineapple, crisp pastry, caramel and macadamia ice cream. Another tempting treat, Pineapple Pudding, can be enjoyed at The Inn at Trail’s End & Spa in Wilmington, Vermont, and for a refreshing summer treat, see Crunchy Gingered Coleslaw by spa manager Linda Jaquith from Birdwing Spa in Litchfield, Minnesota.

In the spa
     The sugars, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and enzymes in pineapple are the active principles that provide skin with anti-aging and moisturizing benefits, and the ingredient bromelain, which is plentiful in pineapple, has been discovered to have a strong anti-inflammatory action, as well.4
     These benefits have made pineapple a favorite for skin care treatments and products. At Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Oahu, Hawaii, clients can enjoy its Spa Luana’s Pineapple Pedicure combining a Hawaiian Sea Salt exfoliation with a refreshing mask of crushed pineapple and island bee honey. The Island Fresh Pineapple Scrub, which couples raw sugar crystals with pineapple and coconut oil, can be experienced at SpaTerre at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, and at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii, the Pineapple Papaya exfoliation treatment is a mildly abrasive exfoliation that is enhanced with fruit acids. Spa Space in Chicago puts a different twist on this fruit combination with the Pineapple Papaya Pacific Paradise body treatment, resulting in smooth skin and relaxed muscles.
     Professional skin care products use pineapple and its secret ingredient, bromelain, in a variety of options, as well. BiON Research’s Enzyme Scrub features pineapple enzyme as a natural antibacterial agent, and the Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub by Kiehl’s leaves skin refreshed, soft and clean. Pevonia’s Papaya-Pineapple Crème Fraiche Body Wrap repairs, smoothes and rejuvenates, while ysthetics Pumpkin Pineapple Skin Glowing Treatment is an exfoliation treatment that improves skin clarity and diminishes fine lines. Murad’s Exfoliating Fruit Enzyme Mask gently dissolves dead surface cells using pineapple juice enzymes, and Pure Fiji’s Get Glowing Beauty Ritual three-step, at-home system is available in a uplifting pineapple scent.

Refreshing addition
This summer, do your clients—and yourself—a favor by adding a little pineapple to your spa’s menu, and perhaps to the relaxation room as well. And when my time finally does come to sit back, relax and enjoy the waves, I will make sure that refreshing pineapple—in some form or another—is close at hand. 

REFERENCES
1. www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-facts-about-pineapples.html
2. www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/pineapple.html
3. www.encyclopedia.com/printable.aspx?id=1B1:375299
4. www.dermaxime.com/pineapple.htm
(All accessed March 5, 2008)

Crunchy Gingered Coleslaw
From Spa Manager Linda Jaquith of Birdwing Spa in Litchfield, Minnesota

Makes 8 servings

4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 8.5-ounce can juice-packed pineapple tidbits
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, slivered
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/3 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice

1. Drain can of pineapple tidbits and reserve the juice.
2. Combine first five ingredients in large bowl.
3. In separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, ginger root, vinegar and pineapple juice.
4. Spoon dressing over cabbage mixture; toss to coat.
5. Cover and chill. Toss again before serving.


Recent Spa Cuisine columns by Cathy Christensen
Spa Cuisine: The Oat Approach (April 2008)
Spa Cuisine: Green Tea Party (March 2008)
Spa Cuisine: Blue Love (February 2008)
Spa Cuisine: Olive Oil, Branching Out (January 2008)