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Turning pomegranates into sorbet – and wine

Eat | Drink | Explore

A South Australian pomegranate producer is hoping a premium sorbet made with juice from the fruit will tantalise the tastebuds of Australian chefs.

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Orthopaedic surgeon Michael Sandow spoke to InDaily last year about the potential health benefits of pomegranates and the varieties being produced on his Wakefield Valley Vineyard in the Clare Valley.

The property has about 2000 trees and Sandow says last season they picked 15 tonnes of fruit, most of which was sold to an interstate buyer.

He approached Adelaide company Gelista and asked it to create a gelato from some of the juice of the leftover pomegranates.

“It is absolutely delicious and has a deep red-purple colour,” Sandow says.

“I think it’s very exciting.”

The pomegranate sorbet was initially trialled at Bocelli’s restaurant on Hutt Street. Now, Gelista has packaged it into 500ml sample packs and sent it to its distributers nationwide so they can taste the product and offer feedback.

Gelista managing director Peter Cox says the company’s traditional market is in food service, and he’s optimistic chefs in some of the high-end hotels and restaurants it supplies will be interested in using pomegranate sorbet in their desserts.

“it’s very difficult to just push a product straight onto the market. You need to get feedback … and the chefs we deal with can be quite fussy, so it takes a while.

“[But] I think it’s a great product – it’s got a lovely earthy flavour. I think it will appeal to creative chefs who want to try and do things differently.”

Pomegranates growing at Wakefield Valley.

While Gelista creates bespoke gelati and sorbet flavours on request, it has a core retail range of just eight flavours – including Coconut with Raspberry Swirl, Blood Orange and Dark Chocolate, and Ricotta, Fig and Honey. These are inspired by food market trends, and Cox is not convinced pomegranate would be embraced by retail customers.

There is also a limited market for pomegranate juice, which is expensive to make and doesn’t offer the same profit potential as the premium sorbet.

However, Sandow isn’t putting all his fruit in one basket: Wakefield Valley Wines is also turning some of the pomegranate juice into wine, which will be available to buy via the website in around a month.

“It’s mainly for a bit of fun,” he says. “But it may become another line if it’s successful.”

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