National Peach Melba Day is observed annually on January 13th.
A dessert made from peaches, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce, Peach Melba was invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier while employed at the Savoy Hotel, London. The dessert was invented to honor the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba.
Here’s some food trivia: when Nellie gained weight later in life, the same chef that created Peach Melba created a thin, low-calorie toast for her breakfast – enter Melba Toast!
The dessert was originally called “Pecheau Cygne” or “Peach Swan” and was presented in a swan-shaped ice sculpture and topped with spun sugar.
- The peach originated in China and has been cultivated at least since 1000 B.C.E. It has special significance in Chinese culture: The peach tree is considered to be the tree of life and peaches are symbols of immortality and unity. Peach blossoms are carried by Chinese brides.
- To this day China remains the largest world producer of peaches, with Italy second. Italy is the main exporter of peaches in the European Union; the regions of Campania and Emilia Romagna account for more than 50% of Italy’s annual production. California produces more than 50% of the peaches in the United States (and grows 175 different varieties). So many peaches are grown in Georgia that it became known as the Peach State.
- True wild peaches are only found in China. Unlike the cultivated fruit, the wild fruit is small, sour and very fuzzy.