Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles (FAK Friday – Guest Post)

Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles

Hello from Oregon! T-Hubs and I are on the coast, enjoying our belated honeymoon together and wishing it would never end. Fresh ocean air, sand between our toes, and plenty of fresh seafood will do us good! While we’re away, I’ve asked my friend Carey from Reclaiming Provincial if she would take over for me. I was first drawn to Carey’s blog by her stunning photography, and was won over all the more by her quirky personality, easy writing style, and incredible  flavor combinations. It hardly needs to be said how excited I was when she agreed to do a guest post, and presented me with these gorgeous popsicles. I have never tried Lillet before, but Carey jumped right into the spirit of FAK Fridays and did a great job enlightening me. Plus she has some awesome tips for picking out the perfect cantaloupe, which is a must for this recipe!
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Hey everyone! I am so psyched to be posting here in Willow’s space today. I have been hooked on her blog for well over a year now, and I am especially obsessed with her FAK Fridays series. Her appetite for knowledge is one that I very much identify with, as learning the ins and outs and science-y bits behind basic dishes and techniques has been a cornerstone in my ever growing love of food. As a self-proclaimed researcher at heart, I am so inspired by the amount of work and thought she puts into each post on a regular basis. Her posts feed my inner food nerd in an awesome way, and I am excited to share something of my own here with you all.

When Willow mentioned that she was heading off on a belated honeymoon, my thoughts immediately went to things that were both summery and celebratory. I settled on popsicles while we were in the midst of a rather oppressive heat wave, and this flavor combination after buying a particularly delicious cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles

Cantaloupe is actually one of my favorite melons. This might sound a little weird, but I fell in love with it over a decade ago, when it was served to me as part of my breakfast on a flight to Germany. Maybe the excitement of traveling by myself for the first time influenced my taste buds, but I swear to you, that airplane melon was one of the best I’ve ever had. One of the problems with cantaloupe, however, is that anything less than perfectly ripe can taste pretty meh. To choose a ripe cantaloupe, you want to look for one that has a cream-colored rind underneath that mesh-like outer skin stuff. When you find one, push on the round indentation where the melon was once attached to the vine, then smell it. It should be a bit soft, and smell a whole lot like delicious cantaloupe. (Sometimes I feel like a weirdo smelling ALL the melons at the store, and I have to tell myself that I probably look hip and knowledgeable to other people.)

Now, I love a good boozy popsicle as much as the next person, but some of them can be a bit finicky to eat, being extra melty and messy due to the amount of alcohol. That is not the case with these guys. The low alcohol % of Lillet keeps them at near-perfect popsicle consistency, while adding herbal notes and a slight wine-y tang.

Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles

For those of you that are not familiar with Lillet, here’s the basic run-down. Lillet is an aperitif that is made from a blend of wines and citrus liqueur. It comes in Blanc, Rouge, and Rose varieties. It was originally manufactured under the name Kina Lillet and made with the addition of cinchona bark (known best as the source of bitterness and quinine in tonic water), but was reformulated in the late ’80s with the cinchona removed, making it a lighter and less bitter beverage. It is meant to be served chilled, so it only seemed natural to add it to a frozen treat.

I’ve used the Blanc here as it has that good white wine punchiness to it, but the Rose would work nicely as well. Cocchi Americano would also be a good substitute (as it is actually considered to be near in flavor to the original Kina Lillet). Basil and mint contribute to the herbal notes of the wine and add freshness, which works very well against the flavor of the cantaloupe (which can be a rather musky melon on its own). All in all, they make for a refreshing summer treat.

Oh! And if you’d like to make them non-boozy, feel free to leave out the Lillet and add another beverage instead, perhaps something with a lemon, lime, or even a ginger base. (I would personally suggest Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade if you can find it, as I think the flavors would complement the cantaloupe very well.)

Happy honeymooning to Willow and T-Hubs!

Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles

Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles
makes: around 10 pops

1 medium cantaloupe (approx. 2 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and diced
1 cup of sugar
3 basil leaves and 3 mint leaves (medium sized), roughly chopped
1/4 cup of Lillet Blanc (or other beverage of your choice)

Combine cantaloupe, sugar, and herbs in a large shallow bowl. Toss to coat, then cover and let sit for about 15 minutes. Macerate the fruit, then let sit for another 15 minutes.

Add fruit mixture and Lillet to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze accordingly.

Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles

Recipe and photos by Carey @ www.reclaimingprovincial.com

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14 Responses to Cantaloupe, Basil, & Lillet Popsicles (FAK Friday – Guest Post)

  1. movita beaucoup August 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Seriously gorgeous. And more than enough to convince me to start liking cantaloupe…

    • carey August 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      Thanks, Rachel! Cantaloupe is a weird melon. When it’s good, it’s so good. When it’s less than amazing, you can still always add booze and freeze it. ;)

  2. Foodie Stuntman August 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Hi Carey, nice to make your acquaintance. I’m a little surprised that you got decent food on an airplane that you didn’t bring onto the plane yourself. I’ve also never heard of lillet, much less used it, so I’m intrigued. Thank you for teaching me something new!

    • carey August 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      Nice to meet you as well! I am still very surprised that I ate decent food on an airplane. (I certainly hadn’t before, and have not since that flight.) I think I just got lucky. (:

  3. leaf (the indolent cook) August 24, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Gorgeous guest post! The flavours sound amazing.

    • carey August 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      Thank you so much! (:

  4. Emma Galloway August 26, 2013 at 2:24 am #

    These looks and sound amazing Carey! xx

    • carey August 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Thank you, Emma! Soon you’ll be enjoying summery treats down your way. (:

  5. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes August 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Thank goodness I am not alone- I am also that crazy girl sniffing the melons at the store! I have never heard of Lillet, I am going to have to track it down and check it out :)

    • carey August 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Hehe! YES, another member of the hip melon-sniffers club. ;) (I used to be so self-conscious about doing it back when I was pretty clueless when it came to food stuff and grocery stores made me uncomfortable. The one thing I DID know how to do was pick a good melon thanks to my summer job at a farm stand during high school.)

  6. Linda August 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Hahaha, I can relate. I have really exacting criteria about watermelons (since they’re one of my favorite fruits), so whenever I’m at the store, I’m shifting them all around in their crate, feeling for the heaviest, the one with the tiniest vine nub, the one with the tannest sun spot. Usually I settle for the best in a certain quadrant, because otherwise I’d be climbing into the crate like it was a pen. Weird indeed.

    Carey! Beautiful photos as usual. I love the contrast of colors. The popsicles look natural and delicious. And I find alcohol to be frustratingly melty, so it’s nice to hear that the Lillet doesn’t do that as much in this case.

    • carey September 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Right?? I never understood those enormous crates of watermelons. I get so upset thinking about the possibly amazing ones all the way at the bottom, whose structure is likely being compromised by the weight of all the others on top. If I ever owned a store with a produce section, I would have a specialty trough-like bin for watermelon in the summer.

  7. shannon weber September 3, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    These sound absolutely wonderful: i’ve been in love with cantaloupe (and summer melons in general, i suppose) since i was very small. I always think they’re underused in desserts, but you can’t bake them in a pie or do a ton with them; which is fine, because i like them straight-out. I love the flavor combination in the popsicles; i’ve never tried Lillet, but it sounds like something i’d love. Can’t wait to try these…now to seek out some melons.

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