When Nicole Cardone, 35, and Deborah Gorman, 34, first started making sorbet, they would use the kitchen at Ample Hills Creamery in the middle of the night. Each week, when the duo arrived at the Brooklyn spot at dusk, recipes in hand, the manager would announce, “The Sorbabes are coming, the Sorbabes are coming!” Well, they’ve arrived.
After launching sales of the dairy-free dessert at the Sag Harbor and East Hampton Farmers Markets in May 2013, Sorbabes is now sold in over 100 shops and markets in New York and Connecticut, and the healthy treat comes with real cool factor, because of the awesome flavors, pretty packaging, and rad mission.
“We’re the Ben and Jerry’s of sorbet…decadent and not typical,” says Cardone, Sorbabe’s CEO.
The bicoastal entreprenuers—Cardone is based in New York City and Gorman is in Los Angeles—pride themselves on creating uncommon, unbelievably tasty flavors like Pistachio with Sea Salted Caramel, and Orange Passion Fruit with Lychees. “Once you taste it you understand. People don’t know what to think when they hear pistachio caramel sorbet,” Cardone says. (Um, we got it right away.)
When the duo met, Cardone was in finance and Gorman was working as a private chef. “Back when I was studying finance, I would go to weekend farmers market and make sorbet with the ingredients, and people loved it,” Cardone says. Then, when having her first child caused her to question long days in a cubicle, her thoughts turned back to making sorbet. But she needed a little help with the recipes, which is where Gorman came in, whose resume includes stints at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, A Voce, and Cafe Gray in New York City.
For those who aren’t well-versed in frozen-dessert vocabulary, what makes sorbet different from ice cream is the base—none of these icy pints contain dairy. “The common denominator [in our sorbet] is purified water and a whole food ingredient. That allows the flavor to become creamy or juicy depending on the other ingredients,” Cardone says. For example, apple and poached pear might make a batch juicy, while the peanut and banana is creamy like ice cream.
And every pint is naturally way better for you than a visit to the chain fro-yo spots. All of the flavors are gluten-free, vegan, and made without soy or GMOs, and they add seasonal flavors throughout the year. The natural ingredients just make the flavors shine, says Gorman. “It’s not about being a dieter who isn’t happy,” Cardone explains, “but about following a health and wellness lifestyle, where you eat till you’re full with foods that are good for your body.” Dessert included.
The typical “sorbabe” or customer is also pretty devoted to the product. On a recent Saturday at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market, a customer was so upset that they were out of Creamy Coconut Chai, she looked like she might cry. An employee comforted her as she decided on another weekend to come back.
As for the unicorn logo that’s ubiquitous on their packaging and website? “We’re just having fun,” Cardone says. Fun that tastes really, really good. —Molly Gallagher
For more information, visit www.gourmetsorbet.com