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Gino's Italian Escape

Roasted peach bellini cocktail with olive balls

Italians love to start the evening with an aperitivo, or pre-dinner drink. It whets the appetite and provides the perfect opportunity to relax and socialise after a day’s work.

This famous Peach Bellini cocktail was created in Harry’s Bar in Venice in the 1930s. The recipe is meant to be a closely guarded secret, but a few years ago Gino managed to persuade the recipe from one of the barmaids! So here it is, with an accompanying snack of delicious crunchy little olive balls. Salut!

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For the olive balls:

– 250g full-fat cream cheese (chilled)
– 125g soft goat’s cheese (chilled)
– 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
– 12 pitted black olives, drained
– 100g roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cocktail:

– 4 white peaches
– 1 x 750ml bottle of prosecco (chilled)

DIRECTIONS

First make the olive balls. In a chilled bowl mix together the cream cheese, goat’s cheese and thyme until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Take a teaspoon of the cheese mixture and pack it around the outside of each olive until completely coated. Roll each ball in the peanuts and place on a serving platter. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the cocktail, preheat the oven to 180c /gas mark 4. Place the peaches on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until softened. Leave to cool. Slice in half then remove and discard the skin and stones.

Transfer the peach flesh to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, then push the pulp through a fine sieve set over a bowl.

Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of the mixture into a champagne flute then carefully pour over the prosecco. Stir well and serve immediately with the olive balls.

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