I often find myself thinking about a single ingredient, dish, or experience for days on end. Recently, it was chocolate sorbet.
Not gelato as sold in most gelato shops, which tend to be creamy, sweet, like biting into a scoop of milk chocolate. My ideal chocolate sorbet is the frozen dessert equivalent of an espresso, dark, ever so slightly bitter, sweet in a smouldering, cocoa butter-y kind of way.
Since making David Lebovitz’s chocolate sorbet and reading about Pierre Hermè’s single ingredient version (if you don’t count spring water), I have been on a leisurely quest to find a gelato vendor that sells sorbet with a clean dark chocolate taste. After years of chasing the latest trends (anything with salted caramel still has me at hello), I have come back to my first flavour crush.
This sorbet phase must be due to the onset of summer: the purple canopies of jacaranda flowers have mostly disappeared. Only a few late season clumps of purple remain, nestled among ever deeper, brighter shades of green. We have become accustomed to short sleeves under suit jackets, bare legs, and that blast of warm caressing breeze when we leave the air conditioned office for the outside world.
And sun! after weeks of late autumn that have been as capricious as the Lady of Fortune herself.
But back to sorbet. And chocolate. For me, a really good chocolate sorbet should be satiny shiny, just frozen and clinging to the ridges on the cone, deeply saturated dark brown. And taste like a light, airy incarnation of a dark chocolate bar, sweet laced with a reminder of bitter-smooth cocoa butter. But unlike a chocolate bar that hangs around like aunts, a good sorbet has beautiful table manners, discreetly melting away on the tongue as though it had no calories (ha).
I found a chocolate sorbet that tastes like this last night, in a quirky little shop that we had been walking past forever, but always in early morning when eating gelato still is an illicit pleasure. The chocolate sorbet was a little creamier than the sorbet I have made, just dense enough to be so-decadent. It had a little less punch than the Lebovitz creation, but it had that lingering, 70% cocoa bitterness cutting through.
The dark chocolate provided the perfect foil for some dulce de leche gelato, which was sticky, sweet, heavy with sugar-laden caramelised milk. It was like taking a tub of dulce de leche from an Argentine fridge and digging in with a spoon.
Next to the espresso machine was a sign that invited us to ask about their affogato project. Rather than ask, I imagined a shot of espresso, laced with golden crema, poured over chocolate sorbet, and another shot over dulce de leche gelato.
We will be back.