Sorbet! It’s like ice cream that hasn’t happened.

But it did. It happened so much, capping off a superb if classic meal at The Atrium in Edinburgh ‘ a far better restaurant than many of its London equivalents. And it led me to think of this strange British relationship with ice cream, which was culturally stalled for an age, and then burgeoned for a few shining years with a nine near the end, and then seemed to hit a glacier again.

You could say that Walls kept tastes frozen in the post-war years. Some time after rationing eased, they decided that Joe Public would prefer a variety of flavours and amusing shapes rather than real cream or other traditional ingredients for quality. And they were right, assuming that Joe was a cheeky lad looking forward to his teenage years. For thirty years they enforced their hegemony in the newsagent ‘ Joe’s boudoir of choice ‘ with adverts in comics for Funny Feet, and, famously, free freezers for the owners.

Which worked a treat for the company, but didn’t offer the same to Joe’s parents. Mr and Mrs Public were presumed to eat blocks of choc-ice, and later Vienettas, or with a grin dip their spoon into the viscous goo of a Two-ball Screwball on a family outing. What’s more, they knew they were missing out ‘ when tourism and an obscenely strong pound sent families abroad for the first time, they discovered that over there ice cream tasted different. Generous helpings of whatever made it taste nice were taken for granted in the States; the Italians just did it better.

It’s an indication of how much British ice cream had congealed that when the imports finally did burst in, it was through the challenging new marketing channels of television advertising and supermarket sales. The naughty new and hippy hip brands didn’t seem to want the customer base sewn up by Walls ‘ they created a new one, and suddenly ice cream was cool again.

But that thrilling ascent was only catching up with the neighbours. Ice cream’s bold new direction, I propose following the inspiration mentioned mere paragraphs ago, is to stop being ice cream, and start being sorbet. It’s a fragile, delicate taste that is so utterly incompatible with the British disease of accepting culinary mediocrity that another rush of elevation is assured. As a cleanser of the palette, sorbet is the perfect vehicle for the flavours of desert ‘ rich, easily sensual and undeniably pure. Adopt sorbet, I urge you, and it will be like ice cream hasn’t happened ‘ we shall know the pleasures of sweet things without the juvenilia of dairy, and our offspring shall grow to be young sophisticates, connoisseurs of that subtle fructose in ice.