Viognier-poached Peaches with St. Germain and Cardamom Whipped Crème Fraîche

| August 10, 2010 | 0 Comments

“A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grandmother’s orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes.”

Melissa Fay Greene
Praying for Sheetrock


Georgia has long laid claim to growing great peaches, and deservedly so. Few would challenge its appellation as The Peach State. Why would I write about Georgia peaches when I’m about to poach some beautiful Oregon peaches in a whole bottle of Oregon viognier? 

While in search of a beguiling quote about the peach, I found this one mysteriously alluring. So, pardon me if I linger on the words of Melissa Fay Greene before we poach peaches. 

Googling around, I ended up at a New York Times review of Ms. Greene’s book, Praying for Sheetrock.  

While my chosen quote eloquently characterizes a Georgia peach, if you remove the word “Georgia”, it could be a beautiful, juicy ripe peach from anywhere in the world where peaches prosper. But no, I learned, she’s describing a preserved dialect spoken in the low country of South Carolina and Georgia called Gullah

“The old members of the black community of McIntosh County speak Gullah, a blend of 18th-century English, Scottish and African tongues mixed with modern black English. Risking fine writing, the author compares their dialect to the taste of a genuine peach: ‘A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grand mother’s orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes. The voices of the coastal people were like half-wild and lovely local peaches, compared to the bald, dry, homogeneous peaches displayed at a slant in the national chain supermarkets.'”  

The New York Times 

Praying for Sheetrock is now on my list of future reads. 

Peaches are among those juicy-sweet fruits that one eats hand to mouth with abandon, risking its abundant sweet nectar’s dribbling slowly down your chin, all over you and your clothing. It’s just you and the peach becoming one, oblivious to the rest of the world. 

Ahem! There’s more than one way to enjoy a peach in our civilized world. Beyond fresh, spiced and brandied peaches have been around since the 18th century. Peaches play well off several spices, marry well with brandy or wine, and can sit happily together in a jar on a shelf for a long time. 

Viognier-poached peaches have been loitering around in my mind since our Memorial Day Weekend wine-tasting tour. While enjoying the food and wine at Illahe Vineyards, I tasted their 2009 Viognier and immediately thought of peaches, peaches gently poached in this fragrantly-spiced wine and fashionably dressed with a cardamom and St. Germain-infused crème fraîche. 

Viognier-poached Peach in Martini Glass


The vineyard describes their 2009 Viognier thusly: 

 “This aromatic white is already displaying a captivating perfume of honeysuckle, honeydew melon, plantain and pineapple. The palette is juicy thanks to good natural acidity, and we’ve left just enough residual sugar to balance the acidity.” 

Viognier-poached Peaches with St. Germain and Cardamom Whipped Crème Fraîche 

This dessert is simple elegance. I said “simple” so don’t let any part of this recipe intimidate you. 

Viognier-poached Peach with St. Germain and Cardamom Whipped Crème Fraîche


For the poaching: 

  1. 4 peaches, ripe but firm
  2. 1 bottle Illahe Vineyards 2009 Viognier
  3. 1 cup (240 ml.) sugar
  4. 24 whole black peppercorns
  5. 4 whole cloves
  6. Juice from 2 lemons
  7. Fresh mint for garnish
  • Peel peaches and toss in lemon juice to retain color.
  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan narrow enough that peaches are covered.
  • Poach peaches in wine mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove peaches and continue simmering spiced wine until reduced by half.
  • Liquid should be a light syrup.

For the whipped crème fraîche: 

  1. 1 cup (240 ml.) heavy whipping cream
  2. ½ cup (120 ml.) crème fraîche*
  3. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) ultra-fine sugar
  4. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) ground cardamom
  5. 2-3 teaspoons (10-15 ml.) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur or to taste (not too much)
  • Whip all ingredients until firm and holds hard peaks.

* Crème fraîche can often be found in the cheese or dairy section of large supermarkets. You can make your own by mixing a small amount of buttermilk in some fresh, heavy cream as in the recipe at 


  • Place a peach on serving dish and ladle some of the strained syrup over.
  • Spoon a generous dollop of the cream on the dish.
  • Garnish with mint and serve.

Note: You will have leftover syrup. Save it for sinful indulgences you may devise at a later date, such as over ice cream, French toast or flavoring a drink. 

Bon appétit 

– Charles

Tags: , , ,

Category: Desserts

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

Comments (0)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.

Leave a Reply