I never knew what all the hype was about fresh apricots until I moved to Switzerland. My grandmother used to talk about apricots that she would eat when she was growing up in California, and I never quite understood her fascination with them because well, New England (where I grew up) just isn’t known for its stone fruit – so any time I had them I just wasn’t that thrilled – probably because whatever apricots we did have available were old, from far away, and beaten up from the long journey to the Northeast. But now I live en Suisse-Romande, the French speaking side of Switzerland, and in the Summer apricots are all the rage, especially those from the canton of Valais. To me it seems Valais is quite well-known for several specialties – les abricots, la raclette, la petite arvine, la brisolée, la viande sechée… so many culinary treasures that I had never really appreciated or known much about until our hop “across the pond”.
Valais also happens to be one of my favorite cantons for hiking around – because seriously what can top a place that has such gorgeous mountains and views like this?
But then, I didn’t know about a lot of features of Swiss life & culture (let alone of certain cantons!) until I moved here, and I’ve found so many great foods (and places) that I now love because of being en Suisse.
Another fruit that has become a fast favorite and was previously totally unknown to me in the U.S. are currants – they are so tart and vibrant, I’ve been enjoying them and the famous Valasian apricots every morning with my yogurt and granola (still never could adapt to muesli, I need crunch with my cereal).
And together? The tender sweetness of the apricots and sharp acidity of the currants provides the perfect balance. I’ve started using the combination whenever I can – sometimes if not on my breakfast, just in a bowl of fruit salad, or lately a blended wine drink after getting home from a long day at work.
During these hot sticky days, there is just something so refreshing about wine and fruit together….and it is quickly becoming a Summer tradition for my husband and I to enjoy a glass as an aperitif before eating light dinners of fruits, cold cuts, and salads. We particularly like this drink because it is sweet, brightly flavored, and cold (very important, especially when you only own one tiny little ice cube tray, ha!). Just puréed apricots with ginger syrup, lemon and wine, poured over ice and garnished with more slices of fruit and berries and mint (and maybe a sour cherry or two).
As for the wine, we’ve been using none other than the famous Valaisian petite arvine – I first tried petite arvine at a tasting fair earlier this year, and knew it would be perfect for the Summertime – the brands we have been enjoying have been a bit sweet, light, and simply refreshing. Perfect for Summer, and perfect with fruit.
So cheers to Summer, to new tastes, to beautiful fresh Summer fruit, and to drinks with which to enjoy them
Summer Ginger Apricot Wine Coolers
Yields about 3 drinks
Prep Time: 5 minutes to wash & chop fruit
Total Time: 15 minutes
6 apricots, pitted & chopped
1/4 cup ginger syrup depending on how sweet your apricots are
2 tbs. lemon juice
a few ice cubes
1 cup petite arvine or your sweet white wine, chilled
red currants and mint for garnish
1. In a blender combine apricots, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and ice.
2. Add in wine and blend again.
3. Pour over ice into a chilled glass, garnish with red currants and mint.
4. Sit back, relax, enjoy