La Dolce Vita: We’re just peachy, thank you

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A waffle

A waffle

Like asparagus, peaches are best when they are grown locally and consumed soon after picking. Both are now available year-round in grocery stores, but neither are nearly as satisfying outside their local growing season.

I picked up a dozen from a small Erickson fruit stand on Saturday and my thoughts immediately turned to salsa (okay, so I ate a couple while those thoughts were turning into something worth dwelling on). Dinner was to be barbecued ribs, jasmine rice and corn on the cob — I’d picked up a dozen ears at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market earlier in the day (while we’re at it, let’s add corn on the cob to the list of fruits and vegetables which are largely disappointing when purchased out of our local season). A little sweet and savoury salsa on the side could surely only add to our enjoyment of the meal.

For the salsa, I finely chopped some sweet white onion, then sliced and diced three peeled peaches and a couple of seeded tomatoes. Into the bowl went some freshly grated ginger, ground pepper, sea salt and good extra virgin olive oil. The fruit’s sweetness demands a tart component so I cracked open a bottle of white wine vinegar we purchased at the Vinegar Works in Summerland, which makes vinegar from a selection of grape varieties. This one was made from Gewurztraminer fruit. The salsa was quite wonderful and a bottle of South African pinotage paired nicely with the meal’s flavours.

When I opened the refrigerator the next morning, the remaining peaches turned my thoughts to brunch. A quick visit to the grocery store and I was ready to go. I started by cutting a half-dozen rashers of bacon into quarter-inch slices and browning them. Then I prepared a double batch of waffle batter, using a recipe that calls for buttermilk. When the first waffle was baking I peeled and sliced three peaches, then added them to a pan with melted butter. Once the peaches started to soften, I sprinkled a handful of brown sugar over top and stirred until the fruit was coated with the butter and sugar mixture. The sauce was allowed to cook while I continued making the waffles.

The rest was easy-squeezy. A nice light and crisp waffle on each plate was topped with the caramelized peaches and made even more decadent with a dollop of whipped cream. The crisp bacon bits were sprinkled on top.

It was a cloudy, even dreary, Sunday morning and we had nothing significant planned, so I put aside notions of cappuccinos or orange juice and went to the wine cellar to retrieve a split (a small, 375 ml bottle) of Moscato wine. Moscato, made from the very aromatic Muscat grapes, is a great brunch wine because it has some sweetness and is typically low in alcohol. While we have enjoyed many Italian versions of Moscato d’Asti (made in the Piedmont region), this one was a bit special. We had purchased it at La Stella, a winery that overlooks Osoyoos Lake, and I recalled from our tasting that it had a peach flavour.

La Stella’s version, Moscato d’Osoyoos, is very aromatic and just slightly effervescent. It features citrus, peach, honeysuckle and papaya flavours and a very pleasant hard candy finish. To say that our small glasses of the 9.5 per cent alcohol wine enhanced our scrumptious peach waffle brunch would be an understatement. I only wish I had purchased more bottles of the La Stella wine, which is now sold out.

For those who are unfamiliar with La Stella, I highly recommend a visit to the tasting room just north of Osoyoos on Highway 97. This boutique winery produces wines in a distinctly Italian style from grapes grown on the lakeshore. We have yet to taste a La Stella wine we didn’t consider outstanding and we wouldn’t think of driving past without stopping for a visit to the Tuscan style winery.

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.