Today’s events include:
Focus: Peach Melba Day
The origin of this dish relates to famed French chef Auguste Escoffier and his friendship with an Australian opera singer, Dame Helen “Nellie” Melba.
Escoffier was a renowned chef. His food was known for being elaborate and fancy and became the trademark of indulgence and wealth. Many of his creations were named for the star partrons of his restaruants.
As the story goes, Nellie sent Escoffier tickets to her performance in the Wagner opera Lohengrin. The production featured a beautiful boat in the shape of a swan. The following evening, Escoffier presented Nellie with a dessert of fresh peaches served over vanilla ice cream in a silver dish perched atop a swan carved from ice. He originally called the dish Pecheau Cygne, or “peach with a swan.” A few years later, when Escoffier opened the Ritz Carlton in London with César Ritz, he changed the dish slightly by adding a topping of sweetened raspberry purée. He renamed the dish Pêche Melba, or Peach Melba.
Here is the original recipe for Peach Melba, translated to English from Escoffier’s original French:
Choose 6 tender and perfectly ripe peaches. The Montreuil peach, for example, is perfect for this dessert. Blanch the peaches for 2 seconds in boiling water, remove them immediately with a slotted spoon, and place them in iced water for a few seconds. Peel them and place them on a plate, sprinkle them with a little sugar, and refrigerate them. Prepare a liter of very creamy vanilla ice cream and a purée of 250 grams of very fresh ripe raspberries crushed through a fine sieve and mixed with 150 grams of powdered sugar. Refrigerate.
To serve: Fill a silver timbale with the vanilla ice cream. Delicately place the peaches on top of the ice cream and cover with the raspberry purée. Optionally, during the almond season, one can add a few slivers of fresh almonds on top, but never use dried almonds.
Daily Trivia: Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.