The author of the upcoming cookbook How to Eat a Peach shares the ultimate move for enjoying this taste of summer.
Peaches are uncomplicated fruit: Sweet, soft, and a little tart, they're an invitation to summer, both a fruit and an experience. Diana Henry, author of forthcoming cookbook How to Eat a Peach (which is organized into a series of three-course menus that coincide with the seasons) appreciates the simple power of the peach more than anything, and she’s here to tell you exactly how to eat this classic stone fruit. Hint: It's much more satisfying than simply cutting it into slices.
According to Henry, peaches are best enjoyed in a glass of Moscato. She first started enjoying peaches this way while visiting Italy in her early twenties, and it stuck with her. At dinner one night, Henry watched as the waiter brought a nearby table a bowl of peaches. The diners sliced the fruit themselves and dropped hunks into glasses of the cold white wine on their table, letting the fruit marinate for a few minutes before eating each slice, “now flavored with the wine, and drank the wine, now imbued with the peaches.”
“It was all about the bite, [and] paying to the small things. Paying attention to the wine. Paying attention to the peach,” she tells Food & Wine. You don’t have to make food that is complicated for it to be wonderful.”
In order to assemble this effortless dessert at home, first, you need to know how to buy the right peaches. Henry prefers which peaches, usually picking those that have a “blush” because they look prettier in the glass.
“You might think that the color is an indication of flavor. It’s not really,” she says. “With a peach, you need to smell it and you can press it near where the stem has been attached to the tree. Feel around there—it should be slightly soft there.”
Next, you'll need to find the perfect wine to accompany your peaches, which might prove a little trickier. Your dinner guests might balk at the idea of a sweet wine like Moscato, but Henry insists that you need to serve the peaches with a floral wine. To that end, you could try a “late harvest Reisling, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.” (Though be warned that the latter is a heavier dessert wine, so you’ll want to serve less of it in the glass.)
If one of your guests rejects the wine altogether, Henry has an answer:
“There will always be people who find the wine too sweet altogether,” she says, “so you give them their peach and their knife and fork and let them get on with it.”
The one thing you should never serve alongside your white peaches and Moscato? Cream.
“That would be awful,” Henry warns. “Then you’re muddying the waters…Sometimes it's just about putting things together that are unbelievably simple. You pay more attention to them and you get more out of them.”