Monday, August 29, 2011

Greatest Desserts: Rhubarb & Crème Fraiche Sherbet

I have bonded between bites of a rhubarb cobbler and made lifelong friends. Some would attribute this to my winning charisma, but I know better. When shared, the tartness of rhubarb transforms its consumers into both addicts and a support group. In short, when we eat rhubarb together, we are forever linked. And though these uniting forces cannot be denied, I have found a rhubarb product brings my altruism into question.

Snookelfritz creates seasonal artisan frozen desserts, emphasizing sustainability and using local ingredients. Their pints are sold at Chicago farmers markets and some neighborhood stores. While many of their flavors are nothing short of creative (raspberry-rose petal, roasted strawberry-brown sugar, maple-candied), their Rhubarb & Crème Fraiche Sherbet stands out as being among the finest frozen desserts I’ve ever had.

Though there is never a need to dilute pure rhubarb, this sherbet creates a balance of flavors that (rather that compete with another) seem to ask one another to dance. Unlike the overpowering strawberry with which rhubarb is usually paired, the subtle crème fraiche gracefully lets the rhubarb take the lead while it is whirled round and round. And the texture of the sherbet is the light, soft footing that effortlessly carries your taste buds across the dance floor.

I will say it again: this is one of the finest frozen desserts I have ever had. As I think now, the Brown Butter ice cream at Toscanini’s (in Cambridge, MA) comes to mind as another on this short list, as well as the Mile High Blackberry Ice Cream Pie on Virginia’s Skyline Drive. Snookelfritz’s Rhubarb & Crème Fraiche Sherbet is one for the history books.


Update: Snookelfritz appears to have stopped being in business. This may or may not be because of the same shutdown that killed Nice Cream.

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