There are days when my body craves the cool, clean air of the country away from the loud buses, messy traffic and fumes of the hot city. On days like that you’ll find me in serene abandon driving along the mountains, heading towards natures paradise. Country-life, from what it looks like from the outside has a quiet peacefulness and purity about it. While winters are hard up in the mountain villages, during the summer people there are in constant relaxation mode. Yesterday was one of those days when I needed to cool off in the evergreen and went up for a drive in the country, and it wasn’t long before I stumbled upon a villager, sitting on a bench among the trees on the side of a narrow road, sipping on a beer and playing his ukulele looking quite content. That’s just the life there. In the country every brightly coloured house painted in typical Italian fashion has a garden to be envied.  I can barely keep track of all the fruit and vegetables I came across yesterday taking sunshine in the flourishing gardens of every day village folk. From pears, to peaches, plums, apples, grapes and pomegranates to ripening fat tomatoes, olives and other classic Italian vegetables, it’s a bountiful harvest. It feels almost unbelievable that while the rest of the country moved on into the modern world, there are places like this that still remain untouched by the conveniences of city living and continue to live harmoniously in this simple but envied fashion. The fascinating aspect of the country for me, is that it’s not only the cultivated fruit trees in peoples gardens that bear all the fruit, but the wild fruit trees that grow and flourish everywhere, bearing luscious fruit just right for the picking. When I visit the country I never come back empty handed, there’s always something to take. In the right season you can fìnd blueberries, cherries, mountain strawberries,  yellow plums, figs and oh so many other things. Yesterday I picked lavender, dried thyme, fresh rosemary and yes you must know already, blackberries! It was as always, a happy day and it got even better when I came home and had to decide what to do with them. Last year when  I picked berries in the country I returned home and made a scrumptious pie with short crust pastry but this year the heat didn’t permit for any of that. In fact I had to control myself with a concerted effort from not quickly pouring cold cream over freshly picked berries and devouring them all by myself – I’m greedy for berries like that. 🙂

But I didn’t, I mustered up the courage to wait and made a froyo because they did deserve a more worthy end. Froyo or frozen yoghurt is yet another effortless frozen dessert and the method is just the same as sorbet making except that unlike granita and sorbet, froyo is made with dairy products, namely yoghurt. Considering Indians and Middle Easterners have had yoghurt in their diet for centuries, it only first arrived on North American soil in the 1900’s. Eventually in the mid 1900’s an American thinker with admirable smarts, I must say, created what we know and love as frozen yoghurt. Thus began the froyo mania with froyo companies in America booming with business, but at the introduction of more luxurious frozen desserts, the froyo buzz quietened down but redeemed itself in more recent years when health consciousness in consumers began to grow. Suddenly sights were turned once again to froyo and the benefits of live probiotic cultures found in yoghurt. This notion is attributed to a Nobel recipient who claimed in the 1980’s that Bulgarian peasants who consumed yoghurt regularly, lived longer lives.  All this and the truth is it doesn’t really matter what trends came and went, who discovered it and when etc. etc.etc. What matters is that its’s delicious to eat, we can make it at home and it’s going to make us live longer. 🙂

So getting back to the blackberry froyo, I personally do love berries and yoghurt together so I knew before I even reached home that we’d be having frozen yoghurt for dessert. You can keep it unsweetened if you like, but I must admit I do appreciate the sweetness as I find an unsweetened froyo a bit too tart for my taste. I used honey in this recipe because honey compliments plain yoghurt beautifully. If you prefer sugar you can use a thick simple syrup found in my melon sorbet recipe that would work equally well. The key is to ensure that when adding sugar to frozen desserts, the sugar must be dissolved first so that it amalgamates with the mixture well and doesn’t sink to the bottom. As a soon as I got home from the countryside the froyo making began and not too long after that, it was devoured by three people in one evening even though it does serve six so I think this variation deserved a mention. I used blackberries in my recipe but raspberries and strawberries or both will do just perfectly as well. I trust you will enjoy!

Ingredients   (serves 6)
  • 500g fresh blackberries
  • 80g honey
  • 500ml greek yoghurt
  1. Lay berries on a tray and freeze for two hours.
  2. Add berries, honey and yoghurt to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth but not melted.
  3. Transfer berry mixture into a 1 litre loaf pan and freeze for one hour.
  4.  Scoop into frozen glasses and serve immediately.