One summer day I drove to Nashville and pulled into the airport pickup lane, waiting for Meg to arrive from Denver. We laughed and talked as we drove towards Murfreesboro to have lunch with some friends. Since working together remotely, when we’re actually together, there are never many quiet moments! Usually, as we drive we toss around new ideas, discuss what we are doing and what more we could be doing in business which is always interspersed with bits of our personal lives.
We sat down to eat in a quintessentially southern home with several friends, gorgeous plates and so many delicious bites. We got to know the friends of our friends over Zuppa Toscana, crusty fresh bread, and a light salad. Conversation hummed sprinkled with laughter as we gathered around the table. As the sun filtered through the windows, the wind blessed us with the fragrance of honeysuckle and lavender. The sacred communion of sharing a table binds friendship in a beautiful way.
Our lovely host, Nancy, cleared the first plates as the talk flowed around us. Since my eyes always follow food, I watched her pulling berries out of the freezer in the kitchen, then drop them into bowls. She brought me a darling little white bowl with brightly jeweled cherries and told us how she sent her husband out to buy mixed berries, and he came back with these “mixed cherries.” She poured a hot white cream over the icy fruit. “There’s a special surprise at the bottom of your bowl,” she told me with a smile.
I took my first bite and was delighted immediately by how the contrasting temperatures of hot and cold collided with each other, and yet harmonized with tart and sweet. How could something so apparently simple have such delightfully complex flavors? Even several bites in, I was still trying to decide exactly what the sauce was made of. It tasted subtly of chocolate, was creamy with a bit of sweetness, and pooled smoothly around the frozen cherries.
At the bottom of my bowl, I found a raised impression of the Eiffel Tower, and it made me laugh. The best hostess finds ways to make things personal to you, and mine had remembered my recent trip to Paris. Her small gift warmed my heart with memories of the journey.
A few weeks ago, Nancy came to my house for a day. As she unloaded her car, she handed me a little white bowl with a little impression of the Eiffel Tower and immediately my mind jumped back to that lovely lunch with its sweet finish.
Later that week as I found a place in my cupboard for my newly treasured gift, I could almost taste the creamy sweet sauce and the chilled fruit. Suddenly, I couldn’t have it soon enough. With no time to text a request for the recipe, I consulted Pinterest. I wasn’t even sure what to call the dish, but my search for “frozen berries with cream sauce,” yielded a few recipes. Looking through them, they only called for white chocolate and cream. I was positive the sauce I had had was much more complicated, as there was no way only three items could taste the way I remembered. But as I said, there was no time to waste. I called the kids to jump in the car, and we drove a mile down the road to our little community store. I picked up a box of frozen cherries, a pint of heavy cream, and then went searching for white chocolate. The Barefoot Contessa had specified in her recipe that “good” white chocolate was a necessity but the only thing I could find were those little wafers.
Some of us don’t have the choices that others do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make something delicious. We hurried home with our basket of purchases, and I went straight to the kitchen. Heating the cream and whisking in the white chocolate took only a minute, and then I was dropping frozen fruit into my little white bowl and slowly trickling the warm sauce over it all.
Food holds memories. Taste brings back moments. I remembered talking and laughing with Meg and the others that day in that lovely southern home. I remembered my delighted surprise at the deliciously simple dish and the warmth of a special gift from a friend.
This week we spent most of one hot summer day in Cookeville, shooting photos for our late summer product launch. After we finished, everyone headed to Muddy Pond and gathered in my cool basement office for a few more photos. I ran upstairs and quickly assembled a tray of bowls, frozen cherries and a little pitcher of warm cream sauce. I took it downstairs and served everyone the cold tart fruit, splashed with warm creamy sweetness. Scattered about the room, we relaxed on the steps, on the cool concrete floor, and in the few office chairs as we all enjoyed those few sweet bites of coolness that refreshed and revived us.
We hope you share this with your friends and make some treasured memories that will come back every time you taste this simply extraordinary dish.
Scandinavian Iced Berries with Hot White Chocolate Sauce
★10 oz. good white chocolate
★1 cup heavy cream
★Frozen fruit such as blueberries, raspberries or cherries.
I love the tartness of the iced sour cherries against the sweet richness of the cream sauce, but I’ve also tried it with other fruit and haven’t found a way that it’s not delicious!
Warm the cream over a hot water bath or in the microwave. Stir in the white chocolate until melted. The cream will be slightly translucent.
Spoon frozen fruit into a small bowl, or in a single layer onto a platter. Drizzle warm sauce over it and serve immediately. I also like to serve the bowls of fruit and let everyone pour their own sauce.
*Origin: This is a dish that originated in the UK or Scandinavia. It is served at the well-known restaurant, The Ivy, in London. It also shows up in restaurants throughout Sweden and a few other parts of Europe. If anyone has any other details about this recipe, please share in the comments!