Blackcurrant ice-cream and petanque
Every year, in August, Celine’s friends meet in a small campsite in Ardeche, a warm, hilly and dry region in the center of France, to celebrate the end of the holidays. It’s the occasion for everybody to enjoy the last summer days, to take a dip in the nearby cristal-clear river or in the pool, to play petanque or to drink the traditional aperitif while talking about everything that’s wrong in France.
Celine and I were invited, and we offered to bring some ice-cream. The two requests we had were chocolate and blackcurrant. Our adventurous spirit drove us to choose the never-tried-before one, of course.
It was a little late in the year to pick the fruit ourselves, and anyway the only blackcurrant bushes I know are in La Sagne (see Redcurrant Post), which was 150kms away. We had to find another solution.
I remember using, with Peter, a sort of blueberry cordial for a previous ice-cream, which turned out to be a little disappointing, so I was not expecting much from bottled berries, but when I found a refrigerated bottle of pure fresh blackcurrant juice in an organic shop, I thought I could give it a try.
It was pure juice, and yet it was extremely concentrated. We first tried drinking it, but had to dilute it and add a little sugar to make it a pleasant drink. Blackcurrant essence… I was getting more and more confident.
I used the Russell recipe, and added 60 cl of blackcurrant juice, which immediately coloured the mix. The liquid traveled from Clermont-Ferrand to Ardeche in a sealed bag. We knew 4kg of ice were waiting for us in the campsite manager’s freezer…
We arrived right in the middle of a game of petanque, and started cranking immediately after the greetings. People came in turns to crank between two petanque throws.
The ice-cream had an amazing purple colour, and everybody agreed to say it was exceptional. The berry taste was intense, fresh and slightly acidic, and yet smoothed by the presence of the cream in an amazing combination. And the week end was just starting….