Monday, April 21, 2008

Life gives me lemons...and they are delicious

Life in Shenzhen has been vastly improved in one fell swoop. I’ve gotten my Metro membership card! (And there is a brand new Ikea right next door!) Metro is a German supermarket chain in the Costco/ Sam’s Club vein which is excellent for all those hard to find imported foods.

Metro is a restaurant supply store, so Chinese citizens need a wholesale license to shop there. Apparently foreigners are exempted from this rule because of our zeal for filling up giant shopping carts full of frozen foods and expensive bottles of liquor. During my last venture I spent $900 quai or $115 USD. Not much in an American grocery store perhaps, but quite a hike from my usual bill of $200 quai or $25 USD.

But I didn’t care about the bill. The good bread alone would have been worth that price. When one is chewing on the Chinese version of French bread, one can’t help but marvel at the expertise required to bake bread that is simultaneously dry and spongy. These would seem to be mutually exclusive, but such is the talent of the Chinese baker.

Luckily, Metro stocks a frozen bake it yourself variety is a tremendous relief from all of that; crisp and golden brown on the outside, soft, fluffy and white on the inside, just as the French intended it. Metro also has a wonderful selection of cheeses (another treat when compared with the usual “selection” of rubbery cheddar and mozzarella). After our last visit, Eric and I came home, dumped our purchases in a heap on the kitchen floor, turned on the oven, opened a bottle of champagne, baked a frozen loaf, and promptly inhaled the entire thing straight off the cookie sheet with half a round of brie. It was lovely.

But what I wanted to show you most of all was this lovely iced dessert:

After examining the packaging, I’m guessing the manufacturer is a Japanese company. Each lemon was wrapped origami style in waxed paper and sealed with a red sticker, four to a box. I loved the idea of this, though I rather doubt I’d have the patience or precision necessary to hollow out lemons before a dinner party. The sorbet is so delicious, I’m starting to suspect it is gelato and not sorbet at all. No matter. They are too pretty to let an unpleasant detail like calories spoil the fun. Check out this recipe if you are feeling the urge to try it out.

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