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Concord Grapes: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

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Every time autumn rolls around, I can’t go to the farmers’ market without being lured by the sirens of the Concord grape. The irresistible scent rising from each bunch of deep purple fruit is impossible to ignore, and I inevitably end up buying more than I should eat in a sitting. Anticipation climbs as I drive home with my fragrant loot, set them on my countertop, pluck a single grape from the stem and pop it into my mouth. A symphony of intense grape flavor bursts onto my tongue, which comes screeching to a halt with a bitter, harsh, and abrupt CRUNCH.

Those seeds! I can’t get past them.

In my produce-loving opinion, Concord grapes could very well be the perfect fruit if it weren’t for those crunchy, pesky seeds. I’m in love with the flavor, the gelatinous, juicy pulp, and even the dark, velvety skin that leaves a dry, lingering mouthfeel. I adore the fact that the act of eating a grape is even mythical – an everyday indulgence that’s been recreated in paintings and books for centuries. My first encounter with them each year immediately transports me to Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Little Women, a path lined with the lovely grapes, the air perfumed. But when it comes down to actually eating them, those lofty thoughts are overwhelmed by the fact that I just want those seeds to disappear.

Which is why I end up with a ton of Concord grape jam by the time the season ends, but there’s only so much jam one can put up (and eat up). Thankfully, the authors of Lottie & Doof have been my inspiration for the past two years when it comes to finding other ways to enjoy my would-be favorite fruit, and their latest creation, a simple sorbet paired with a luxurious Torteau de Chevre, might be the best rendition yet. The pure, grapey, frozen dessert may only have 4 ingredients, but as the renaissance man himself, Leonardo DiVinci, once said: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. 

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