There are very few perfect things in life. Even within the world’s most wonderful city, there are few things that are perfect. And, I almost didn’t try one. Fortunately, a waiter refused to let me pass it by. It was at a local favorite restaurant, Le Sorelle (“the sisters”), after another lovely meal that included white truffles and some good wine chosen by the warm and wonderful Cristina, who always takes such good care of us.
That’s when Max, our server, picked a fight. I asked for our usual, the marvelous millefoglioline – light, flaky, and delicious. “No,” said Max.
“Are you out of it?” I asked.
“No,” said Max. “You need to try the sorbets. You will have the sorbets.”
“But I want the millefoglioline,” I said.
“No,” said Max, who began not only to shake his head but to make one of those standard Italian hand gestures: palms together, fingers pointed, waggling at me. ‘You will have the sorbets.”
“What about something chocolate?” I asked.
Max began to move his hands more rapidly and give me the evil eye, telling me again I was having the sorbets. Max made an exaggerated (after all, this is Rome), exasperated sound and shook his head again. “Trust me,” he said.
It was clear he was not backing down and that I was in real trouble. Maybe he was going to withhold any and all dessert if I didn’t do what he said. So, I gave up and said, fine.
What arrived was one of the most beautiful plates of fruit and nuts I had ever seen. Inside a peanut shell was a divine peanut butter sorbet; filling a plum (it had been hollowed out, leaving a thin layer of fruit and the skin) was a tart plum sorbet; within a perfect half of a red apple was a sweet apple sorbet. Several more little treasures graced the plate as well. Breathtakingly beautiful, witty, and incredibly refreshing, further complimented by the textures of the different fruit. I’ve dined at my share of great restaurants, but this dessert is still the one that always enchants me.
It’s winter as I write this, far too early for sorbet. Why am I thinking about sorbet when it is freezing outside? Because although I’ll be in Rome in a few days, I’m already planning my next trip over the summer. And, you know that on a Roman summer night, I’ll be heading over to get a little taste of perfection, to wrap up a lovely meal. Once you find something perfect, make sure to go back and get some more, else risk getting into a fight with your server. But that’s a fight you’ll want to lose.
Update November 2018: Alas, Le Sorelle is closed …. I will remember it fondly!