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The first version of Peach Melba was created by Chef Auguste Escoffier in 1893 when he was the chef at the restaurant of the Savoy Hotel. This summer sweet palette of flavors is named after opera singer Nellie Melba. When she performed in Covent Garden, she received many compliments. The Duke of Orléans wanted to celebrate her achievement and organized a dinner cooked by Auguste Escoffier. In honor of Dame Melba, the gastronomic icon created a new dessert: Pêche Melba.

He served his dessert in a silver bowl that he placed in an ice sculpture in the shape of a swan. The swan ice sculpture was a direct reference Dame Melba's performance in the opera Lohengrin, which featured a swan-shaped boat. The poached peaches were arranged on vanilla ice cream and topped by a nest of spun sugar. The dessert was thus originally called “Pêche au Cygne” (peach with the swan) by Escoffier. Only seven years later, when Chef Escoffier opened the Ritz Carlton restaurant in London with his partner and former General Manager of The Savoy, Cesar Ritz, did Escoffier replace the sugar confectionery with raspberry puree. He then renamed the dessert Peach Melba.

Peach Melba Recipe

  • 4 peaches (relatively firm)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scraped
  • 7 oz. raspberries
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • ½ lemon
  • 1½ cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1½ cup whipped cream
  • 3 oz. sliced almonds


  • Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Dip the peaches for 3 to 5 minutes (longer if the peaches are very firm).
  • Remove the peaches from the saucepan and peel.
  • Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit.
  • In another saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil with the sugar and vanilla (including the bean).
  • Dip the peach halves, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the peaches are still firm but a knife can pierce them easily.
  • Set saucepan aside. Leave the peaches in the saucepan to cool.
  • Meanwhile, mix the raspberries with the juice of half a lemon and icing sugar to get the raspberry puree.


  • Place a peach in a bowl.
  • Top with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
  • Finish with some raspberry puree and sliced almonds.
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