This month, the feature is Peach Mellba.
Australian born soprano Helen Porter Mitchell Armstrong, much better known under her stage name Nellie Melba, is probably the only famous person who has been honored with two dishes carrying her name.
One is Toast Melba and the other is Peach Melba, both created by French chef, hotelier and cooking genius Auguste Escoffier who was a great admirer of the diva.
She often performed in London and stayed at the Savoy and later the Ritz Carlton hotel which Escoffier ran as chef and co-owner. When she suffered from an upset stomach, the concerned Escoffier came up with a very thin, very dry toast, topped with melted cheese or pate which became known as Toast Melba.
In 1892 or 1893, the exact date is disputed, Nellie was singing in Lohengrin and sent her great fan Escoffier tickets. So impressed was the chef, that he created a dessert for her. Poached peach halves, sprinkled with sugar, placed on vanilla ice cream and served on top of an ice sculpture representing Lohengrin’s swan.
A few years later, he added raspberry sauce, made from fresh raspberries, passed through a sieve to remove the seeds and poured over the peaches and ice cream. Only then did the dish receive its name: Peach Melba.
Apparently Nellie loved ice cream, but was reluctant to indulge often because she feared for her vocal cords. By combing the ice cream with the summer fruits, her caring friend Escoffier had
lowered the temperature of the ice cream, so to speak, and Nellie could enjoy without fear.
Thank you ink for sharing this bit of history. I may have to share some of my own research in the future. We look forward to what you send next month. Inka has a new assignment covering Istanbul for Planet Eye. We will look forward to getting your links and some Turkish recipes.
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