Campari Citrus Sorbet (Grapefruit-Blood Orange-Tangelo)

One of my students has taken to hugging me every half hour. It surprises me each time since I'm certainly not warm and fuzzy. She apparently figured out that the tough love is love nonetheless. As awkward as it is for me, I try to remember how tender children are-- so if smashing her cheek against my waist gives her a moment of safety, I roll with it. It terrifies me that I don't know what her life is like when she's not under my watch (and terrifies me to imagine what a ferocious mama I would be--she's not even my cub!)

For better or for worse I can bring myself back to her age perfectly. The slightest thing can be tremendously scary when you only have 7 years of life experience to cull from. And children are so perceptive of adult TVs tuned to a foreign soap opera--the emotions come right through but words and context are lost, amplifying the drama. As we get older, the good and the bad seem to average out and I know that if a scary feeling hasn't destroyed me this far, chances are, it won't. (Unless the closet monster has been planning an elaborate attack for decades and is just waiting for the right moment to strike). Yet, sometimes I still get that apocalyptic childhood fear again--usually in the form of tunnel vision, crippling nausea, or my heart crawling into my mouth. These days, though, I can talk myself out of it. What's a bad 10 minutes, 2 hours, couple of weeks, or even a whole year in proportion to nearly 30 ?
The past year has been so high--a reaping of a hard-earned harvest--that I've been wishing that I'd never have a bad moment again...but when the floodgate burst on an airplane recently (probably because high altitude = inexplicably weepy), I was reminded that without some low points, the good ones wouldn't seem nearly so good.

By the way, I'm writing this as my Passover entry. There is a part in the seder about eating something bitter mixed with something sweet to remember the bitterness of slavery (or the past) and celebrate the sweetness of freedom (or the present/future.) The sweetness doesn't eclipse the bitterness, but is augmented by it (don't dates and apples sound like a relief after a mouthful of horseradish?)

Campari is one of my favorite bitter things. I just love love love the color. Personally, I'm fine tempering it with nothing more than an ice cube, but here it is paired with sweet citrus fruits. I mixed a few types of fruits, but it's not precise--just make sure the sweetness is balanced with the acidity, i.e. add some lemon juice if you are using more oranges. The color of blood oranges is great if you can still find them. This sorbet makes a nice starter or palate cleanser between courses.

Campari Citrus Sorbet

  • 2 C grapefruit juice (from 2-3 large grapefruits)
  • 1 C orange juice (I used 2 blood oranges and 2 tangelos)
  • 1-2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grapefruit zest
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C Campari
  • 1 egg white

  • mint leaves

Zest one of the grapefruits. Juice the fruits, leaving the half-rinds intact. Reserve the rinds for later. Heat one cup of the juice with the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Add in the rest of the juice, lemon juice, Campari, and zest. Beat the egg white until foamy peaks. Freeze the juice mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions, adding in the egg white when it starts to look slightly slushy. If you like, quickly scoop the sorbet into the reserved shells, cover with Saran wrap and freeze. When ready to serve, cut the rinds into wedges and garnish with mint leaves.


  1. Yummmmmmm!! So pretty, so campari. Have you tried Aperol? We had it in Europa and loved it mixed with fizzy water and a slice of lemon.

  2. Thanks! I wish you were next door so I could share it! I had Aperol in Europa, too. I think I like it more...can you find it here easily?

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