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January 4, 2010

Sherbet – the fizzy powder – is my favorite sweet; sherbet dib dabs, sherbet fountains, lemon sherbets. Sweet without being sickly, fizzy without being sour and, if you practice, you can foam at the mouth like a rabid dog. Truly a versatile confection.

But the history of sherbet is an odd one, a confusing web of timelines, bifurcating and tangling as sherbet made its way across Europe from the Middle East. As it diverted south into the kicking leg of Italy, Sherbet (originally a drink, now served frozen) was supplemented with milk or cream, giving a smooth, rich consistency somewhere between ice cream and sorbet (which is derived from the same root). It’s zingy and smooth on the tongue, and one can see (just about) where the powder got its name.

For a while I have liked the idea of incorporating sherbet (the powder) into a pudding of some description – perhaps strawberries and sherbet – but what about combining the two different types: the Italian creamy sorbet and the fizzy powder it allegedly spawned. I’m thinking a sherbet ball frozen onto the end of a lollipop stick, served with a little pot of sherbet, like a sexy grownup sherbet dib dab. Well, not grown up, just sexy. 

Food shouldn’t really be grown up, should it?

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