January 13 – Peach Melba Day
It’s surprising that such a dessert celebrating summer fruits comes to be the national food on a cold day in January. Perhaps it’s because it’s meant to commemorate a famous singer from Down Under! According to Wikipedia, the Peach Melba as we know it today was created in the late 19th century in London for the Australian opera singer, Nellie Melba (hence the name). The chef Auguste Escoffier created the dish out of her favorite summer fruits, peaches and raspberries, and included vanilla ice cream–a favorite of the singer, though she tried not to eat too much because the cold affected her vocal chords. Perhaps this is why the dish is celebrated in January, when the summer fruits are in season in Australia, and it’s the perfect weather to eat ice cream!
You can’t often find a peach melba being served regularly in restaurants these days, but the David Burke Townhouse on the Upper East Side makes quite a mean peach melba sundae. Instead of the raspberries they use a strawberry sauce–which makes the sundae sweeter, but also easily complements the vanilla ice cream, especially when it melts. To make it more of a dessert than simply an ice cream sundae, a moist layer of pound cake is added to the bottom. Definitely a decadent dessert with a fantastic balance of sweet, cold, and warm–any time of the year!
David Burke Townhouse
133 E 61st St
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I ordered the pretzel crusted crabcake and sweet chili prawn (DIvine), the handmade cavatelli and braised short ribs (melted in my mouth and changed my life/pallet forever), and peach melba sundae (w/ pound cake, almonds, in a strawberry sauce)…a game changer.”–Sharifa C.
“Finally for dessert I shared a Peach Melba sundae with this ridiculous strawberry reduction sauce. I’m more of a chocolate dessert person but even this was fabulously good.”–Rosemarie P.