Monday, August 11, 2008

Alice Waters: Concord Grape Sherbet

A few years ago, I decided to try to replicate the fabulous grape nut sherbet that I have only ever tasted at Farr's Ice Cream in Ogden, Utah. 

I am emphatically NOT talking about Grape Nuts ice cream, the bizarre (yet also blah) New England dessert made with Grape Nuts cereal. I'm talking about a refreshing, bright purple fruit sherbet studded with walnuts. It was my grandmother's favorite flavor of ice cream, and there was often a quart of it in her freezer, right next to the Cool Whip.

I called Farr's but they couldn't, or wouldn't, help me. So I tried numerous internet recipes for grape ice cream and sherbet with results that ranged from the passable to the positively vile. Most called for Welch's grape juice.

Then, last year, I bought some fresh concord grapes and made a sorbet recipe out of Claudia Fleming's beautiful book, The Last Course

This was IT! This was my grandmother's beloved Farr's grape sherbet. All it needed was some walnuts and maybe a little milk. (My memory of Farr's sherbet is that it is slightly creamy.) 

I was speechless with happiness because I had achieved my goal; my children were speechless with happiness because it was so incredibly delicious.

Yesterday, I saw concord grapes at the Marin Farmer's Market so I bought a couple of pounds and decided to try Alice Waters' recipe (Fruits) for Concord grape sherbet. How did it measure up to Fleming's & Farr's?

Not even close. Waters calls for simmering the grapes in hot water, which robs them of their vibrant flavor. The sherbet tasted nice enough and was a pretty pink color, but it wasn't the grape sherbet of my nostalgic dreams. 

Fortunately, I saved some grapes and am going to make a batch of THAT tonight. 


  1. Farr's Ice Cream is awesome, they serve the best combinations of flavors, their ice creams and sherbets are amazing.

  2. It is a delicious flavor, grape is my favorite fruit.

  3. HI Jennifer! I found this neat explaination of why grape flavored ice cream isn't as ubiquitous: (I read it off of David Letbovitz's facebook page)