|Main ingredient(s)||Peaches, raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream|
The Peach Melba (French: pêche Melba, pronounced [pɛʃ mɛl.ba]) is a classic dessert, invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London to honour the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba. It combines two popular summer fruits: peaches and raspberry sauce accompanying vanilla ice cream.
In 1892, Nellie Melba was performing in Wagner's opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden. The Duke of Orléans gave a dinner party to celebrate her triumph. For the occasion, Escoffier created a new dessert, and to display it, he used an ice sculpture of a swan, which is featured in the opera. The swan carried peaches which rested on a bed of vanilla ice cream and which were topped with spun sugar. According to rumour, Nellie Melba loved ice cream, but did not dare eat it often, believing it would affect her vocal cords. In Peach Melba the ice cream, being only one element in a whole, would not be as cold and thus not harm her vocal cords. In 1900, Escoffier created a new version of the dessert. For the occasion of the opening of the Carlton Hotel, where he was head chef, Escoffier omitted the ice swan and topped the peaches with raspberry purée. Other versions of this dessert use pears, apricots, or strawberries instead of peaches and/or use raspberry sauce or melted red currant jelly instead of raspberry purée.
- Peach Melba
- Larousse Gastronomique (New York City, New York: Clarkson Potter, 2001), page 733.