2001 was an eventful year for my family: my brother graduated high school, I finished four years of college (with only one class left on a dual degree, I didn't quite graduate, but close enough), my mom turned 50, my dad was 60, and our family business celebrated its 25th anniversary. Much merry-making ensued in May, roughly smack-dab in the middle of all these exciting goings-on. For the most part, our friends turned out to be a well-trained bunch: we asked for no presents, and received very few. But one couple insisted on inviting us to a spectacular home-cooked dinner.
There were wine and cheese beforehand, then smoked salmon and aquavit to lead us into the meal (yum), followed by salad, then a main course of red cabbage and roast duck done to perfection and accompanied unironically by potato chips --- our host insists they're essential with duck "for the salt", our hostess explained. But the most exciting moment of the evening was definitely dessert.
An assortment of sorbet accompanied fresh berries and crème fraiche --- and introduced me to the joy that is chocolate sorbet.
Imagine, if you can, the taste of a really rich chocolate ice cream with the consistency of sorbet, and you're getting there. It was totally unexpected, yet completely appropriate in the context of a light, palate-cleansing final course. A rich, creamy chocolate would have left us feeling weighed down, outright clobbered by another heavy taste, but this had all the rich taste we wanted with no endless aftertaste, so we could enjoy bites of each of the other rich fruity flavors available to us without any more blurring between them than we chose. It was a masterfully executed watercolor for the taste buds, easing us out of the meal and on our way home (after, of course, indulging in our choice of delicious after-dinner liqueurs).
If you're curious to experience what it is I've just waxed all lyrical about, try Häagen-Dazs chocolate sorbet some time. It's the best (by which I mean only) I've found in stores around my house. Please note that although this delicacy is lactose-free, it is unfortunately not vegan (contains eggs). Or if you're feeling super-cool, try the above recipe and let me know how it turns out.