Last time I wrote of death; this time I write of marriage. The Chinese believe that when peach trees are in blossom, it is an auspicious time to marry. Fertility symbols, peaches appear on wedding gifts, often in combination with…bats. Whereas bats represent the masculine principle, peach blossoms and fruit signify the feminine. Perhaps the association arose from the observation of nature; before the cultivation of these drupes, bats helped propagate the trees by dispersing the seeds.
The word for bat, fu, sounds like the Chinese word for good fortune or happiness. It is common to find images of five bats flying around a peach. The bats symbolize the five blessings of long life, prosperity, health, love of virtue, and a peaceful, natural death; the peach stands for longevity and immortality.
I won’t claim that preparing today’s recipe will result in either a marriage offer or immortality, but it may lead to a happiness that lasts until you see the bottom of your soup bowl.
Peaches and Cream Soup, or Drupe Soup 2
1 kilo (4 c) chopped peaches
250 ml (1 c) Grüner Veltliner or another white wine
8-12 lemon verbena leaves
2 Tbs honey
4 Tbs heavy cream or Schlagobers
Bring the peaches, wine, and 3-4 verbena leaves to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the peaches are tender. Let them cool off. Remove the leaves.
Purée the peach mixture with the remaining leaves, honey, and cream.
Chill for at least an hour and serve cold.