The Peach Melba is a classic dessert, invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London to honour the Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931). It combines two favourite summer fruits: peaches and raspberry sauce accompanying vanilla ice cream.
In 1892, Nellie Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden. The Duke of Orléans gave a dinner party to celebrate her triumph. For the occasion, Escoffier created a new dessert, and to display it, he used an ice sculpture of a swan, which is featured in the opera. The swan carried peaches which rested on a bed of vanilla ice cream and which were topped with spun sugar. In 1900, Escoffier created a new version of the dessert. For the occasion of the opening of the Carlton hotel, where he was head chef, Escoffier omitted the ice swan and topped the peaches with raspberry purée. Other versions of this dessert use pears, apricots, or strawberries instead of peaches and / or use raspberry sauce or melted red currant jelly instead of raspberry purée.
January 13 is National Peach Melba Day in the United States.