I tend to do a lot of research when planning a trip. I always buy a guidebook and look for interesting places to visit on the internet. I spent weeks collecting information for our trip to Provence, including printing out maps on the Michelin website. It was quite helpful and we used those maps for our various day trips that we made.
One of those places that I insisted on visiting was the village of Villeneuve-Loubet, because it is the childhood home of Auguste Escoffier and his birth home contains the Musee de l’Art Culinaire, or Museum of Culinary Art.
This museum is dedicated to Auguste Escoffier, “King of Chefs and Chef to Kings”, the creator of the famous Peach Melba, strawberries Romanoff and who, according to his obituary in a British newspaper, “put frogs’ legs on the West End menu.”
The museum has eight rooms that display souvenirs, objects, sugar sculptures and utensils from his time, a collection of menus and a number of photographs and articles.
One of the museum’s eight exhibit rooms features the fireplace and spit used by the Escoffier family.
A photograph of the Australian opera star Nellie Melba is signed “A Monsieur Escoffier avec mes remerciements pour la creation Peche Melba,” (To Monsieur Escoffier with my thanks for the creation of Peach Melba) and dated 1914.
The museum has menus from his days at the Carlton and at London’s Savoy Hotel, as well as menus for the coronation dinner honoring King George V.
I recommend stopping and seeing this interesting museum and walking around the beautiful village.
I know I should show you a picture of the Peach Melba or Strawberries Romanoff I made, but I haven’t made either one. However, in keeping with the ice cream that you serve with the peach melba, I thought I would give you a recipe for a luscious coffee ice cream with a warm ganache sauce.
Adapted recipe from Cat Cora's Kitchen: Favorite Meals for Family and Friends by Cat Cora
1 cup finely chopped premium bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole Italian-roast coffee beans
2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate has completely melted and forms into a thick sauce. Use immediately or keep warm over a hot water bath on very low heat until ready to use.
Crush the beans into coarse pieces by placing them in a ziploc bag and smashing them with a rolling pin. Add the crushed beans, the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 cup cream into a saucepan . Place the saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring the milk mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat as soon as bubbles break the surface. Steep the coffee beans in the milk mixture for at least 1 hour. Strain the mixture and set aside. Discard the coffee beans.
Have ready a large bowl filled with ice water. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar until the mixture becomes pale yellow and forms a ribbon.
Reheat the coffee-flavored milk mixture, bringing it to a simmer. Immediately remove it from the heat, and with the mixer on low speed, slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs and sugar. While mixing, add the remaining hot milk mixture in a slow, steady stream until incorporated. Scrape the mixture from the sides and the bottom of the bowl mix well, and pour through a sieve into another bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup cold cream and stir well to combine.
Place in the ice bath. Stir until the mixture has completely cooled. Transfer the mixture to a covered container and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until ready to churn.
Churn the ice cream and place in the freezer for about 1 hour.
Place two scoops of ice cream in a bowl and pour the hot ganache over the ice cream, top with whip cream and the chopped hazelnuts.