We Try the New Lemon Sorbet Sundae at Ghirardelli

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[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

If you've strolled by a Ghirardelli location recently, you may have noticed a few new items on the dessert menu. Unlike most of their signature items, these feature neither ice cream nor fudge sauce. To appeal to customers seeking a lighter option, the San Francisco-based chocolate shop rolled out the "Marina Collection", a trio of desserts that star lemon sorbet.

Two of the items are drinks. There's a lemon sorbet shake (sorbet blended with milk) and the Lemon Fizz (lemon sorbet, club soda, and strawberries), but the Lemon Sorbet Sundae ($8.95) looked the most enticing. It's made with two generous scoops of lemon sorbet and garnished with pineapple, diced pieces of crystallized ginger, and almonds.

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The sundae (if it's even fair to deem it as such—Merriam-Webster would disagree) starts out strong. Those toasty bits of almond are good and crunchy, and the combination of lemon, ginger, and pineapple is a success. The issue is stretching out the toppings over more than a few bites, because once they're gone, you've got a whole lot of sorbet to plow through before hitting the bottom layer of pineapple. The good news: the sorbet is super-smooth and quite tasty, though it registers as candy-sweet, not tangy.

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In fact that's something you should know about the sundae before digging in: every element is too sweet. The menu lists the pineapple element as simply "pineapple" but it would be more accurate to say "pineapple topping". There were no chunks of pineapple, and the jelly-like sauce was missing any acidity.

Combined with the ginger candy (which was crusted with sugar crystals, and not at all spicy) and the too-sweet sorbet, the end result is a dessert that's one-note and less refreshing than it ideally should be. My taste buds were so burnt out on sugar that I couldn't even get through the first scoop. Had it delivered the flavors I was hoping for (tangy lemon, acidic pineapple, and sweet/spicy ginger), it would have been a real knock-out.

Maybe Max Falkowitz wants to take a crack at a sorbet like that? I live in hope.

About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax

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