A Perfect Day for Berry Picking

On another continent, my friend Ben is making pretentious raspberry currant jam.


I’m making downmarket raspberry sorbet.

Clearly, this is going to require some sort of explanation.

One of my favorite moments during my trip to Switzerland happened in France.

It occurs to me that I’m not helping to clarify anything.

Bear with me—as with most things, it’s about the journey.

Wherein our story begins. Really, it’s a case of a well placed road sign, and a pitiful knowledge of French on my part.

When I travel, I often find myself wishing I knew more of the local customs, knew the language better. In this case, though, I’m not sorry.

How could I be, when a simple question, “What are groseilles?” led to an impromptu stop in the fields of the Alsace region of France in order to pick raspberries and groseilles—red currants as it turns out. Kilos and kilos of them. My friends are nothing if not overachievers.

It was a brilliant end to a wonderful trip to Zürich and beyond (just wait to see my pictures from Lugano).

And, with my flight back rapidly approaching—the next morning, in fact, I found myself growing more and more nostalgic by the moment. For the week, yes, and for memories almost long forgotten.

Suddenly, I was thinking about summers long gone going to the U-pick fields of Long Island and wearing my sister’s strawberry stained shoes from berry picking the summer before. My mother may be the only person I know with the foresight to save stained shoes so as not to ruin a new pair. It’s a life skill, I think.

I was thinking, too, surrounded by dear friends, of how relationships evolve, yes, but the good ones remain, despite the oceans and the miles and the time differences or months of silence. And of how Ben and I had an idea for a blog, where we could still keep in touch through cooking, in kitchens and countries apart. We joked about starting it out this way—see, I told you I would explain that first sentence. We were kidding, of course, as we often are, and mocking bloggers who start posts with such ridiculous assertions as “while I was in Alsace” all the while knowing that we would likely be doing the same.

So what?

I’ll even take it one step further, by adding in a pretentious quote.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

And, now, to bring it back to the scene at hand.

Because after all of that musing, I stopped thinking of anything at all, instead just enjoying exactly where I was, which is to say, in a field, in the hot sun, with berry juice running through my fingers.

The berries were tart, and there were kilos of them.

Ben was planning on taking them home to make some currant raspberry jam. And, since I couldn’t fly with berries, I was going to have to settle for grocery store raspberries and no currants at all since I couldn’t find then anywhere.

But before all of that, the buckets needed to be weighed and we needed to drive a little further to Ville d’eguisheim where we had dinner plans and where a vintner would take a break from his foosball game to allow us to sample wines that his family had been making for three generations.

I lead a charmed life.

Fine, fine. I’m being glib, but, really I mean that.

Downmarket Raspberry Sorbet

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup raspberry, pureed
1 TBS kirsch

Make a simple syrup by boiling water and sugar, until the sugar melts completely. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Once the simple syrup is cooled, combine it with the raspberries and blend until the mixture is completely pureed.

If you don’t like seeds, strain the raspberry puree at this point, using a cheesecloth placed over a strainer.

Add the kirsch to the raspberry puree and stir to combine.

Chill in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Makes 1 scant pint


1 Comment

Filed under Dessert

One response to “A Perfect Day for Berry Picking

  1. Sammie

    so cute. the berries too!

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