Sorbet doesn't receive the acclaim of other frozen treats like ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt, but with the arrival of SorBabes, that hype disparity might shrink soon. The company, which is the brainchild of Sarasota's Nicole Cardone and Los Angeles' Deborah Gorman, recently cut a deal with Publix that will see the supermarket stocking six SorBabes flavors.
Like all sorbets, SorBabes' pints are dairy-free, and they're also vegan, gluten-free, kosher and pareve. Most types of sorbet are built around fruit flavors, and SorBabes makes excellent lemon, raspberry and passionfruit pints, but the company also offers a handful of ultra-creamy varieties made with nut butters and nut hunks. The company's pistachio and caramel, for example, is made with pistachio nut butter and flavored with roasted pistachio nuggets, with a caramel swirl throughout. The "Peanut Butta Luva," meanwhile, is crafted out of real peanut butter, plus roasted peanuts, hunks of chocolate and more caramel.
The lower fat content in SorBabes' products (the pistachio flavor has about one-fourth the fat of Ben & Jerry's "Pistachio Pistachio") allows the flavors of the base ingredients to shine through. "We get the purest expression of that nut," says Cardone.
In addition to SorBabes' lemon, raspberry, passionfruit, pistachio and peanut butter flavors, Publix also sells "Cocoa Haze," a chocolate and hazelnut variety. (A seventh flavor, "Café Almond," isn't available yet.) Each is tasty, with direct, strong flavors.
Cardone says she and Gorman are always asking each other, "How can we get more flavor in every single bite?" The two launched the company in 2013 on Long Island and in New York City, building buzz at local farmers' markets while refining their recipes. Gorman was a professional chef, while Cardone has a background in finance. As the company has grown, production shifted to Iowa, and Cardone found herself on the road, selling the product to grocery stores around the country. She and her family moved to Sarasota two years ago.
Publix began stocking SorBabes earlier this year, selling it at 90 percent of its stores. Other chains like Target and Kroger are also testing sales of the products. "This year is going to be a game-changer for us," says Cardone. Grab a pint, scoop some out and you'll see why.