Gelato is an Italian creamy iced confection. It’s more like ice cream with less milkfat and more sugar, not like the Marino’s Italian Ices cup, which is like scraped ice. In Israel, Aldo is one of the local gelato stores. Local to Emek Refaim in Jerusalem, that is. In addition to their main selection of gelato flavors that often include Twix bars, Ment [sic] Chocolate Chip, they have a parve sorbet counter that is constantly overrun by sweet-toothed locals and tourists who stop in for a little something sweet. Or a huge something sweet. It’s a little commercialized, but the product is good, it’s quite apparent that it’s made fresh, and they have a decent selection of non-standard flavor combinations. Sometimes, these flavors include alcohol. Heh.
Tonight was the first time that I noticed a particular flavor combination in the case. I may have overlooked it before, or it may have only recently come back in season. At least part of it was seasonal, anyway. Grapefruit comes into season at the beginning of winter here, along with oranges, pomelos, pomelits (smaller white pomelos), and another go-round of lemons. Limes will wait until next year. Anyway, they paired the grapefruit with arack. And the result was a harmonious, balanced flavor combination that was surprisingly good.
Arack, for those who don’t know, is an aniseed-based distilled liquor. It’s the local rotgut. It’s cheap ouzo, if that isn’t too redundant. But, if you like the flavor of anethole (the flavor compound of licorice, anise, star anise and fennel), you chill arack and drink it straight or when it’s milky-white and all you have is 20 shekel in your pocket. Or maybe only 15.
It’s not a nouveau flavor combination by any means. It a blend of common Mediterranean flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The grapefruit and arack sorbet had an vibrant sweet-tart combination with the licorice-anise rolling over it in a mellow linger. They eucalypty bite cut the sweetness of the sugar along with the tart of the grapefruit so that the ice cream wasn’t cloying.
I am going to experiment with this flavor profile especially in an old grapefruit and avocado salad (maybe from Alice Waters) with arugula and let you know.
Later on, while in the coffee aisle of the supermarket, I noticed an Arabic brand of coffee with an indicator on the package “without cardamom [בלי הל].” Of course it’s without cardamom, what fool would put… and then I thought about it for a bit. Cardamom has a sweet profile, and I’ve already considered it for chocolate, and chocolate and coffee have similar taste properties, so maybe a cardamom-laced mole or something like that. Why not?
Stay tuned for recipes that feature these flavor combinations.