Wednesday, February 17, 2010
7-11 Yuzu Sherbet
I've been a fan of orange sherbet since I was a young adult, but haven't had easy access to it since coming to Japan. It simply isn't something that tends to be carried in Japanese markets and convenience stores. I'm guessing this is because there is a kind of ice that is meant to resemble kakigori (Japanese shaved ice with syrup, like a sophisticated snow cone) that serves a similar area of the market. This "ice" is generally offered in ramune ("soda", lemonade or bubble gum flavor), lemon, and orange flavors so I think it occupies the same citrus-flavored, non-cream-based frozen confection niche as sherbet.
These Japanese ice treats are nice, but their texture is rather pebbly and they tend to be too sweet and syrupy. It's like a compressed version of shaved ice. It has the general flavor of kakigori, but lacks the fine textural benefits that you get with real shaved ice. It also tends to start melting and turn into slush pretty quickly. Essentially, it's a cheap knock-off of something which is much better in its original form.
I was very surprised to discover this yuzu sherbet in the freezer case at my local 7-11. It was 100 yen ($1.10) for a 110 milliliter serving (about a half cup). There are 80 calories in one serving and most of that is coming from sugar as that is the first ingredient. Since yuzu is like lemon, it's not surprising that lots of sugar has to be added to make it palatable in sweets.
This sherbet smells citrus-like, but only faintly. Sherbet just isn't one of those things with a strong scent. The flavor is a good mix of yuzu and just the right level of sweetness. Since the flavor of yuzu is unique, I can only say that it is like a cross between grapefruit and lemon, with just a hint of orange in the finish. The texture is pretty much spot-on for sherbet. It's a little grainy, but not in a bad way. It's simply what happens when a frozen confection is made which doesn't have cream in it.
The standard I hold sherbet to is the type of stuff that I pay a fortune for at Baskin Robbins because that is pretty much the only place in Japan that consistently sells sherbet of any sort. This isn't quite up to the same quality as Baskin Robbins's product, but it is also quite a lot cheaper and just as tasty. Mainly, the texture isn't quite up to the standard of old 31 Flavors varieties.
If this sticks around past the winter yuzu trend, I will definitely buy it again. In fact, I wouldn't mind stocking up on it just to keep it around. If you like sherbet in citrus flavors, it's a no-brainer to sample this.