Thursday, 25 July 2013

Easy Traditional Summer Italian Dessert

It seems that Italian restaurant in Canada know of only 3 desserts, Gelato usually too sweet and not home made, Tiramisu again factory made and taste like cardboard and Canolli usually made by some food company and not fresh.

However in Italy desserts like any dish are often very regional and follow tradition which does not cross the Atlantic easily nor would you find it in another region of Italy. By mid to end July peaches start appearing on the markets in many varieties. They are usually grown in areas just a few kilometers outside the city and so they are left on the trees by the farmers until they are ripe and ready for the picking and trucked in to the local markets early in the morning each day around 04:30 am.

Italians do not usually have a sweet dessert after a meal, but at this time of the year you will find a home made dessert that is very traditional, very old fashioned and very easy to make. You only need two ingredients and it takes about 5 minutes to put together.

The dessert is a favourite of older men, many will tell you of seeing their grandfather or father taking a peach the yellow flesh variety, cut it up put it in a large wine glass and pour white wine over it all. Voilà!

On any given day grandfather or grandmother or an uncle will tell the child, Scendi a prendere le pesche, go get some peaches at the market. The word peach in Italian is pronounced Pes Ke.

The peaches have to be of the gialle variety. The vendor will ask Di che tipo? What type you want.  The answer is Da vino (for wine) so it will be the gialle, yellow or gaillone, big yellow. Take the time to smell the fruit from where the stem was, very important, the fragrance runs from peach blossom to magnolia, the texture from melon to mango to apricot and the fruit has to be soft if you are going to eat them today.

It is a beautiful, simple and elegant dessert, a cold glass of simple table white wine with fresh cut peaches drown in the liquid. Now that is a true Italian dessert.

Peaches red with yellow flesh

Peaches Snuff box variety from the eastern slope of Mount Etna, Sicily

Peaches varieties in the local markets in Rome


  1. Sounds peachy! Sorry, someone had to say it.

  2. We're on a 'subscription' to weekly boxes from a local organic farm this summer. Lots of variety, but has frequently included blueberries. Our local 'Elberta' peaches are hard to find, because apparently they don't ship well. But, I've managed to persevere, and last week made a lovely (if I do say so myself) blueberry/peach galette. Sound good?

    1. You bet! Are they yellow flesh?

  3. Yes... but tinted blue in this case;-)