28 Apr2009

peach1

Few edible items can trump a perfectly ripe peach. It’s fragrance is as intoxicating as a brilliant perfume, only more natural. The soft fuzzy skin and gentle yield of the ripe flesh is far more sexy than is allowed on a food blog. And the juicy flesh is best enjoyed outdoors and eaten by hand, as the juices trickle down one’s arm. In the tropics, mangoes are one of my favorite fruits, and they are similar to peaches, but the longer I have lived back in this part of the world, the more I crave a superbly good peach. But when that desire is impossible, the next best thing is a preserved peach, albeit a seriously pampered and wickedly pricey preserved peach. These ones had been hanging out in the refrigerator for several weeks, and while it wasn’t fresh, it was still quite superb…

peach2

These humongous, individually wrapped (while on the tree) and thus unblemished peaches are carefully peeled and preserved in simple syrup with a bit of preservative. Grown and bottled in the Calanda region of Spain, they are a delicacy that can be enjoyed off season and thousands of miles away from the source. They are sweet and still possess a very “peachy” flavor, though the sugar and a touch of preservative have altered the taste and texture slightly. They are delicious just on their own, but if you want to dress them up, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort…

peach3

For dessert after after this risotto meal, we just put a whole peach in a bowl, a scoop of vanilla and some berry compote that I blitzed and strained into a smoother sauce. You could have this with whipped cream, good yoghurt, a piece of butter cake… Very easy to assemble on short notice.

peach4

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Vanessa says:

    Waxing poetic over a peach, MM. And with good reason, too!

    Apr 28, 2009 | 6:17 am

     
  2. betty q. says:

    There are some orchards in the Okanagan that baby their peaches and apples the same way..they wrap the fruit in bags while they are growing to protect them from the elements …labour intensive!

    Ted, Maria Clara: do you know how to pick a perfectly ripe peach? Peach season is just around the corner over there where you are…a nice red skin is not indicative of ripeness. It indicates the variety. here is my ripeness index: look at the stem part. It should be creamy yellow or white. Same goes for WHITE PEACHES! It should be NOT GREENISH! Take a whiff of the fruit…it should have that faint peachy fragrance. One thing about peaches though…they should be prepped as soon as you get them. I friend went to the Okanangan last year and I asked her to buy for me a case of hand picked peaches for my PRESERVED PEACHES and PEACH JAM. She came back with 4 cases of peaches for she wanted me to make preserved peaches and peach jam for her as well!!!! I think this year I will just go to the Farmer’s Open Market to buy my case of peaches!

    Apr 28, 2009 | 6:34 am

     
  3. lyna says:

    I remember my younger days when imported items were a real treat. My mom would secretly hide in the fridge her tin of delmonte sliced peaches purchased from the PX stores in Cartimar… good old days!

    Apr 28, 2009 | 9:43 am

     
  4. yen says:

    haha. you sound so soulful here. you must really love peaches.

    Apr 28, 2009 | 9:49 am

     
  5. Mila says:

    When I go to the US in the late summer, I have to buy peaches, especially white peaches, which seem to embody the pinnacle of peach perfection, the fragrance so dreamy, the flavor so wickedly sweet. I think peaches and fresh cherries are my favorite fruit from N. America.
    In college, we’d rate boy’s bums based on 1 to 5 peaches, the higher the peach ranking, the cuter the derriere. Heehee

    Apr 28, 2009 | 9:52 am

     
  6. tipat says:

    Loved the way you “sensually” described the peaches… :-)

    Apr 28, 2009 | 10:10 am

     
  7. Susie says:

    When I lived in New Orleans, we would make brandied peaches with the stone free ones that would come to the farmer’s market from Georgia. The smell of the peaches poaching in the brandy was incredible! We would bottle enough to theoretically last through the winter (always thought i’d give them away as Christmas gifts) but they never lasted long enough to make it through the summer! Often thought I should try to brandy some mangoes! BTW Market Man, that play on Peach Melba you served looks divine!

    Apr 28, 2009 | 11:10 am

     
  8. meekerz says:

    I love fresh peaches!

    China’s peach season is around July, and the peaches there are so cheap! Of course this would depend on the variety and province of origin- ‘normal’ ones are prices around the same range as apples! While the better ones are more expensive.

    Try going to HK during peach season too. They get really good imports from US or Japan… Heaven!!!

    Apr 28, 2009 | 2:18 pm

     
  9. chrisb says:

    MM, is melocoton Spanish for peaches? or is it the brand? I’ve seen these bottles at Terry’s and I’ve always wondered if they were any good. Now I know =)

    Apr 28, 2009 | 3:25 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    chrisb, yes, melocoton translates as a peach/es. These are pretty good for preserved. Of course, fresh is ALWAYS better…

    Apr 28, 2009 | 3:51 pm

     
  11. zena says:

    I have to confess that I don’t like fresh peaches (my apologies to the enthusiasts). It’s not that I haven’t tried, I always try them when I can. Maybe I just don’t know how to pick them. I don’t like the fuzzy texture of the skin, so I end up chopping them and stewing them in a bit of simple syrup and maybe white rum and place on my ice cream.

    Apr 28, 2009 | 7:17 pm

     
  12. chrisb says:

    Lately I’ve been hearing about canned tuna and other seafood from the avant garde chefs in Spain that are garnering praise from food critics. Even Bourdain and Batali were so sold on the canned clams, etc. Apparently, the restaurant chefs use the canning process to manipulate the qualities of the seafood to their advantage. And the cans are served right in their restos as well, you won’t get them retail. Have you tried those?

    Apr 28, 2009 | 7:24 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    chrisb, I have heard of Euro100 cans of seafood from Spain but haven’t tried any of them. Yes, I would agree there are SOME exceptions to the fresh vs. preserved discussion… I recently read an article on bottling one’s own tuna in oil, but it needed a special boiler (pressure one) to ensure no botulism…

    Apr 28, 2009 | 8:09 pm

     
  14. sunflowii says:

    peaches from Niagara-on-the-Lake is in season in august. they are so juicy and sweet that you take a bite and then have to slurp the juices right away. or at least that’s how i eat it. best peaches ever! ;)

    Apr 29, 2009 | 2:34 am

     
  15. kurzhaar says:

    Some of the canned seafood from Spain/Portugal/Italy is truly excellent. Maybe not identical to fresh, but delicious in a different way with good texture and flavor (and no “canned” metallic taste). Some are staples in my pantry (octopus in olive oil, tuna in olive oil).

    Back to peaches…I have yet to have had a canned peach that compares to a good fresh peach. There is nothing to compare to biting into a ripe white peach picked off the tree and still warm from the sun (except a similarly ripe mango, maybe). Back home in California I’ve had some gorgeous peaches that the grower simply called “Indian peaches” (there are several varieties of “Indian” peaches but I am not sure which these were); they had very dark purple skins and flesh, as sweet as white peaches but with more acidity. Now I can’t wait for peach season, which is months away! (Although I must say that part of the joy of a ripe peach is the fact that they ARE seasonal.)

    Apr 29, 2009 | 4:34 am

     
  16. Apicio says:

    Canned seafood was AB’s first featured taste for his No Reservations in Spain. Clams, razor clams, mussels, tuna seem to be recent innovations over what they have always been famous for all along, tinned sardines and anchovies.

    A just cooled down newly baked peach pie, still warm and syrupy condenses and encapsulates warm weather for me more than any other summer treat. A tiny bit of orange rind also sharpens and enhances peach flavor, a great combination just like the drink fuzzy navel.

    Apr 29, 2009 | 9:04 am

     
  17. betty q. says:

    Kurzaar: since your peach season is just around the corner…I am thinking prosciutto with fresh sun-kissed ripened peach and mascarpone!!!

    Apr 29, 2009 | 9:59 am

     
  18. Marketman says:

    bettyq, yes, peaches in a salad with greens and prosciutto works really well.

    Apr 29, 2009 | 11:31 am

     
  19. Sheryl says:

    …and yet another spanish-made delicacy. I’m still on Galicia-induced high from watching Batali et al on Spain, On the Road again and you had to post another absolutely wonderful reason why we should visit Spain. Peaches are also one of my fave fruits and I can totally relate with your description. I think anything that resembles an oyster in texture do result to an experience akin to something primal yet exquisite pleasure. Good post, MM!

    Apr 29, 2009 | 11:52 am

     
  20. atay says:

    melocoton is also a family name in the philippines. i wonder how families came to be called that.

    Apr 29, 2009 | 12:55 pm

     
  21. joey says:

    So true! I still remember my first taste of fresh peach in Greece…I would have it with Greek yogurt every morning for breakfast! Siiiigh…

    But, at the end of the day, Mangoes are still my number 1 :)

    Mila: LOVE the peach rating system!

    Apr 29, 2009 | 5:41 pm

     
  22. traci says:

    i have a very vivid memory of snacking on sliced fresh peaches on a drive from San Diego to LA… stopping by La Jolla near the beach to wander around and stare absorbedly into tide pools and the minutiae of life inside them. oh, the memories..

    Apr 29, 2009 | 9:01 pm

     
  23. Lava Bien says:

    Lol! I had a funny experience with peaches when I studied in Spain. For the first month there my host dad kept calling it “melocoton”, which I didn’t understand because we call it “durazno” in the Americas. Found out we were talking the same thing hehehehe. Loved cook-outs at their finca just 15-20 minutes out of town

    Apr 30, 2009 | 12:40 am

     
  24. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: thanks for the peachy peach tips.

    Apr 30, 2009 | 3:28 am

     
  25. Eileen says:

    MM, may I know where you bought the peaches featured in this post? Are these available in any of the grocery stores in Makati?

    May 1, 2009 | 3:59 pm

     
 

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