Saturday, August 31, 2019

Peach Melba

Peaches are in their season. They look beautiful, smell wonderful, taste sweet feminine and flavorful. I love it all my life ever since I first tasted. I still remember that it was very hot and muggy summer day when I was a little boy, remember that my grandmother picked up a peach from an ice-water filled porcelain bowl and then halved and peeled it for me to enjoy with her endless love. I was sweating; an old electric fan was making a bit noise but sending cool air. It was delicious and I loved it. We always peel peach, apple, pear, persimmon… and we use a utensil to eat, not with bare hands, except watermelon and mandarin orange, perhaps.

All natural food products were nothing like today’s market...they were available only in their seasons. If their season is gone, you must wait a year to see and taste it until next season. So once their short season is gone you had to dream how good taste was. It is hard to explain to today’s young friends about the feeling, but something like your a girl friend is gone for far away college, so you cannot see her until next summer break….it was no iPhone and IPad, so each moment of experience and memory were so precious and important. It was a good time, having it with romantic attachment. 

Over a decade or so later when I became a young cook in the French kitchen, people called me garçon pêche because I love eating fresh peach more than anyone else, and also Peach Melba was one of the most popular desserts at the time. It was so popular that we had to have on the menu even out of the season, and used overly sweetened can or jar peaches. It was sad for me because the taste is nothing like fresh one but you know they are not available at all the time, and learned I just cannot get always what I want.

I remember many pastry chefs were normally mild temper and nice guys, so they often shared with us their work to taste it, unlike other brutal guys in the kitchen I had to work with. 

 Classic Peach Melba recipe is that halved fresh peach and then cook lightly with butter and sugar and then removes the skin. I am guessing that when the recipe was created over a century ago, in London, and Paris, the weather was much cooler than today, so the fruits were not so ripen and sweet like today. (This is another example of current climate change phenomenon? There wasn’t any jets, cars and air conditioning.) 

In California, the sun is so strong and days long that all fruits grow and ripen fast. So it elevates sugar content in high not like many other places. I like California white nectarine very much that I often eat without peeling skin, same as for my Peach Melba.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

ROSE WINÉ - Great Summer Wine

Rosé wine is perfect wine of hot summer. They are pretty, pink in color, light in body, but packed with summer fruit flavor (strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, etc) and crispy acidity on palate (summer food friendly; comosed salad, pasta with light sauce, pizza, even for dessert like lemon tart) and they are having a big momentum in America.

Some of them are nicely sweet but many dry versions of rosé wines are made with different grape varietals by each different appellation (region) around globe today. One of new from California is made from expensive Pinot Noir grape. They are a bit pricey but worth a try, but in general many imported roses are reasonably priced.

Well chilled rosé wine is very refreshing taste and nicely summer food friendly. I have been having a glass of rosé wine everyday as soon as I come home from work. And I often make rosé spritzer with adding a lemon slice and fresh mint leaves, making it a bit like Mojito (cannot run out rosé in my refrigerator in summer time). It is very refreshing and tasty!

Dry Rosé wine from Provence, south of France has been known and famous for many years, but it wasn’t many brands available in California until recent years, plus it was a bit pricey if you could find one in wine shop.
However welcome news is that many Provencal rosés  are available even in ordinary large super markets in this year among with many others. I see that my local Trader Joe’s carries at least a half dozen Provence rosé wine among many others, as well as at Safeway market. I was a bit surprised that Safeway near my home carries over 50 different rosé wines from around world. They filled the sheves, top to bottom include California rosé (of course) in this year. It is something that I had never seen it before. 

Interestingly, Provencal rosé wines are easy to spot, because many rosé wines have different unique bottle shape. They are quite artistic that no wonder many great artists have lived there (e.g. Picasso, Miró, Cézanne in the past) and keep attracting many young artists to live and work there (great weather, beautiful sea, delicious food and wine.).

My current two favorit this summer are, De Mont, which has very elegant taste and it got everything Provence rosé wine caractor can offers; light, crispy and summer fruits flavor ($8.99 at Trader Joe's). Magique is slighty sweet but very tasty and good wine. I like it a lot ($4.99 at Trader Joe's).

I also enjoyed Loma Negra rosé  from Chile made with Cabernet and Merlot blend ($4.99) and Emma Reichart rosé from Germany made with Pinot Noir ($4.99). Trader Joe's carry 3 dozens rosé wine this summer, and their price is wonderful, more than just affordable!

Anyway dry rosé wine’s popularity is very obvious that a clerk at Trader Joe’s told me they cannot keep up stocking this year. I should go to check out Rosé wine at Wholefoods market this weekend, wondering what they have stocked.

Here is a good Provence wine information site.