Sunday, February 06, 2011

Scream Sorbet in Oakland

Intense Flavors from Farmers Market Favorite
5030 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st Street), Oakland
Temescal neighborhood
PH: 510.394.5030
Open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

You might think it’s odd to open a sorbet store in the middle of winter, but when it’s in the Bay Area, it can maybe count on spring-like days like the ones we’ve enjoyed this weekend.

Scream Sorbet, which started off at Bay Area farmers market and can still be found scooping creative flavors there, has been planning its Oakland store for a few months late last year. It finally opened in December, but then it took awhile before it got its license to scoop, instead selling only the pre-packaged sorbet sandwiches in the beginning.

It’s now in full operation mode, and the warm weather probably helps get people thinking about a cold treat – at least for me.

When you enter the store, just a few steps from the popular Bakesale Betty, the décor doesn’t necessarily scream sorbet parlor. The eclectic décor that includes a chandelier and a ceramic leopard makes me think boudoir. The only sign of sorbet treats are the cardboard cut outs of sorbet dangling at the window.

There’s no seating in the tiny shop, except for a wooden bench by the window. In the center is a cooler with the pre-packaged pints and sorbet sandwiches.

When I first tried Scream at the farmers market, I enjoyed the flavors but I remember noting how expensive it was. It still feels that way in the store. A petite cup (the one scoop) is $3 and the double scoop is $5. (It seems like the average for some artisan ice scream/gelato go for about $3.95 for a double scoop.) Then the price jumps to $12 for a six-scoop dish.

Despite the price, it is a nice selling point that sorbet doesn’t include milk so it’s more cholesterol friendly for me. My first visit I tried a few flavors and eventually ended up going with the Seascape Strawberries (Scream emphasizes its local sourcing) with a scoop of Saffron Almond. The strawberry had an intense fresh flavor, and the saffron almond had an amazing gold color but a nutty creamy texture from the almond.

This weekend I returned and tried the Strawberry Lemon (there’s a lot of citrus flavors in season right now) and the Hazelnut Chocolate. The strawberry lemon was intense and bright, just like the other strawberry, and it was a nice combination with the rich hazelnut chocolate.

Another time I tried some of the sorbet sandwiches. There are several flavors, with each sandwich selling for $4.75, and I tried the Satsuma Mandarin sorbet in between a hazelnut shortbread cookie, and the Coffee Almond sorbet in a Molasses Ginger Cookie.

The taste and texture of the Satsuma Mandarin sandwich is like something you’d eat in a restaurant for dessert. The sweet but tart mandarin orange sorbet is well balanced with a tangy flavor, tasting like real mandarin oranges with matching color. Then the shortbread cookies was almost wafer thin. It has a soft texture, which makes it easy to bite into the whole thing but without the cookie crumbling.

For the Coffee Almond sandwich, the cookie is great – firm but crumbly so that you can bite into it without it squeezing out the sorbet center. You can really taste the molasses. The sorbet portion is nice but the flavor is overwhelmed by the molasses-ginger cookie. Only near the final bite did I taste some coffee, which is one of my favorite flavors so I was hoping to taste more of it. Still, I enjoyed the texture of the cookie and sorbet.

I actually find the sorbet sandwiches more interesting and exciting to get from Scream, although the scoops are also good. And since it’s just down the street from where I live, it makes it convenient when I want a guilt-free treat.

1 comment:

Carolyn Jung said...

A great option for my lactose intolerant friends, too. Oooh, the sammies look so good. It would be hard to eat just one. ;)