"Made with ripe, blushing white peaches, this light and refreshing cocktail is the perfect aperitivo. The original Bellini was created in the 1930s in Venice’s legendary Harry’s Bar," says Emiko Davies. "It’s a simple, elegant drink of local Prosecco (see page 190), stirred gently (so as not to lose fizz) with puréed white Veronese peaches. Giuseppe Cipriani, Harry’s founder, named it after the rosy colours famous in the paintings of Venetian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini, and it is still one of the most popular things to order at Harry’s Bar. The classic ratio is one-part peach purée to three-parts Prosecco. If you are using Saturn (also known as donut) peaches, those beautiful flattened white peaches, then you can use two of them for this recipe."
This is how it is made by my husband, Marco, who before becoming a sommelier was an excellent bartender at the Atrium Bar at the Four Seasons in Florence. He has the following three tips to share: Everything should be well chilled, from the peach to the Prosecco, to the glass (put the glasses in the freezer for 10 minutes before serving). Exposure to air can oxidate the fruit, making the peach purée turn brown – avoid this by not preparing the purée too far in advance (in other words, do it on the spot).
Finally, don’t be tempted to add anything else."
1 chilled white peach
250 ml (8 ½ fl oz/1 cup) Prosecco
2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar, if needed
1. Peel and pit the peach. Place the fruit in a blender with half of the Prosecco and, if the peach is a little tart, the sugar, and blend until smooth.
2. Pour into chilled glasses, add the rest of the Prosecco, give it a gentle stir with a spoon and serve immediately.
V A R I A T I O N S
If you cannot get white peaches, there are a number of classic variations on the Bellini, where another fresh, seasonal fruit is substituted for the peaches. For example, a Rossini is made with strawberry purée, Puccini with freshly squeezed mandarin juice and Tintoretto with fresh pomegranate seeds and juice. Just don’t substitute yellow peaches; it wouldn’t look anything like the pink Venetian skies of a real Bellini.
This is an edited extract from Cinnamon & Salt by Emiko Davies, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $40. Available in stores nationally. Photography ©Emiko Davies.