Auguste Escoffier Peach Melba
The Pêche Melba, a dessert made of peaches, ice cream and raspberry sauce, was created by the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier in the 19th century at the Savoy Hotel in London. It is named after the Australian opera singer, Nellie Melba, who often ate at Escoffier’s restaurant after performances in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Melba (a stage name chosen as a reference to her hometown in rural Australia, near Melbourne) was one of the most popular opera singers of her time, touring in both the USA and Europe. The legend goes that Nellie sent the French chef tickets to her performance in Lohengrin by Wagner, which featured as part of the set design, a boat in the shape of a swan. Later, Escoffier served the soprano a dessert with fresh peaches and vanilla ice cream in a dish hanging on a ice sculpture of a swan! The chef originally named his creation Pêche au Cygne (peach with swan). Years after, for the opening of the Ritz Carlton in London, Escoffier changed the dish by adding a topping of sweetened raspberry purée and renamed the dish Pêche Melba.