In TasteHistory

The heat is on, and so are sorbets in all their icy goodness!

It is believed that sorbets originated in ancient Persia, but this is not confirmed. There are also a number of legends, unsupported by any known evidence, that attribute the origins of the sorbet to historical figures such as the Roman Emperor Nero, the explorer Marco Polo, and the Italian duchess Catherine de Medici who was said to even have her very own sorbet chef.

The truth is that we cannot know for sure how sorbets emerged, because their history is closely intertwined with that of ice cream, gelato, sherbet, parfaits and other iced refreshments. We do know, however, that iced drinks have been around for hundreds of years, during which they evolved into the decadent dessert we enjoy today.

The first person to actually record a recipe for a sorbet was Antonio Latini in the 17th century. He is also credited with developing the first ice cream when he added a milk base to a sorbet.

Several sorbet variations have emerged along the years. Mulled wine sorbet is made with red wine, orange, lemons, mulling spices, ruby port and egg whites. Muscat sorbet is made with dessert wine, lemon juice and egg whites.

Sorbets are served either as desserts or as palate cleansers between the savoury courses of a meal. Alcohol, honey or corn syrup can be added to lower the freezing point and make softer sorbets.

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