There are two facts about me that you may or may not know which are relevant to today's blog.
1) I can't eat much dairy.
2) I love ice cream.
Throughout my life I have struggled to deal with a problem called lactose intolerance. It has gotten much, much worse over the past decade, and one of the things that I struggled with throughout this process was my love of ice cream. I love frozen desserts. And this doesn't just apply to desserts which are meant to be eaten frozen. I will happily gnaw on frozen cakes, cupcakes, pies, chocolate, or just plain fruit; however, ice cream has always been my first frozen love.
As my digestive issues became more severe, I persevered and continued to eat ice cream until the pain just got too bad. That was when I realized that I needed to find a replacement. I was in England when I first started experimenting with sorbets. It started as an attempt to reduce my calorie intake. I stood there in Sainsbury's with a pint of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia in one hand and a pint of mango sorbet in the other. The serving sizes were the same 1/2 cup, but the calorie count was much different. Cherry Garcia has a whopping 240 calories per serving while the mango sorbet had only 80. I did some quick calculations and realized that I could 3/4 of the container of mango sorbet for the same number of calories as one serving of Cherry Garcia! (Gluttony, thy name is Lu). At this point, an obsession was born. Gone were the stomach cramps and intestinal upset, and here to stay was a fruity new dessert. I started to make delicious sorbet floats and sorbet-shakes. It was great!
Not everywhere has sorbet though, and not all sorbets are created equal. Some brands are sickly sweet and others are just flavorless.
I have never had a bad experience with Ciao Bella sorbets, and their flavors are creative and substantial enough that I never feel as if I'm being deprived. Whole Fruit on the other hand is far too sweet and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. Every once and a while, when there are no other sorbets at the grocery story, I'll pick up a carton of Whole Fruit while hoping that I was remembering it as worse than it was. That night, I'll eat one scoop and then forget about it in the freezer as it becomes an iceberg of snowy crystals.
The first time I tried one of Edy's Fruit Bars I proclaimed that it was like sorbet without the bent spoons and sticky fingers. Wrapped in a convenient package, these fruit-filled popsicles reminded me of the joy that food on a stick can provide. Their selection of flavors has broadened in the past few years and now includes pineapple, açaí blueberry, tangerine, lime, and pomegranate.
I bought a box of the pomegranate a few months ago at a Chinese grocery store, and it made me rethink what it means to be alive. It was absolute bliss. I probably would have formed a severe dependency, but thankfully my local grocery store didn't carry them... until this week. Fortunately, this guilty pleasure doesn't impart too much guilt. At 70 calories, it is possible to eat nearly the whole box and still say that you are watching your weight.
I tried the pineapple last night and nearly had an out of body experience.