The fact that Italian food is amongst the most popular cuisines in the world is no coincidence. There’s always something about it, whether if it is pasta, pizza or just a simple salad, one can always have a very delightful experience where every single nuance of a true meal arises and fills the palate like only Italian food can.
The simplicity of this particular food always surprises me, as these highly complex flavours hide behind just a few ingredients; and in this paradox lays the challenge for every cook that prides on knowing how to cook Italian food and this is true for every dish in the Italian cornucopia, even for desserts.
I have a friend that says that she always eats the dessert first because she is always afraid of being too full after having had a hefty meal and she never wants to miss it, I think she took that after a film. So, in honour of my friend and those who share her views, I’d like to talk about the top 5 Italian desserts.
- Gelato: Of course this has to be at the top of the list, as Italian gelato is famous all over the world. Interestingly enough, gelato was actually born in Asia 3000 years ago and the Egyptian pharaohs adopted it as an offering for their guests, in the form of icy cups filled with fruity juices. It was only much later that the Romans joined in by eating the ice of the Vesuvius and the Etna, covered in honey. Gelato only became popular in Italy during the renaissance, when the Medici family hosted a dessert contest and it became popular around the world when Francesco Procopio set an exotic café in Paris. In so many words, this is the history of this amazing Italian dessert that can be the perfect finish of your meal.
- Tiramisu: Everyone that has visited an Italian Bistro has heard of Tiramisu and that is no coincidence, as it is one of the most delightful desserts in Italian cuisine. Italian cook Roberto Linguanotto allegedly invented this dessert, made with a base of lady’s fingers and mascarpone, and it takes the name from his maiden Tiramisu but in reality the word means cheer me up. So, cheers!
- Biscotti: Bisscotti are amongst the most traditional desserts in Italian cuisine. The word means “cooked twice” and it is because this dessert is baked twice, which makes it very dry and therefore it can be stored for a long time. Born in the Italian city of Prato, this crunchy treat is traditionally dipped in Vin Santo, which makes it an incredibly elegant delight.
- Mascarpone: If you’re looking to finish your meal with a creamy dessert then one option you definitely want to consider is the Mascarpone. Acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar coagulate this cheese-based dessert, which gives it that zesty aftertaste. Born in the southwest of Milan, Mascarpone is the perfect dessert if you are looking for sweat and sour finish to your meal. A limoncelo would go nicely with it.
- Cannoli: Leave the gun take the Cannoli! A valuable advice from The Godfather films, and there’s no wonder why one would prefer a cannoli to a gun. This Sicilian dessert became popular amongst Italians who migrated to the United States. Cannoli means, “little tube” and it is precisely that, a little tube filled with a creamy and sweet mix that often contains ricotta. Have it with a very nice espresso and you’ll be set for the evening.
These are just a few suggestions for dessert but there are many, many others, so don’t be afraid to try. At Pizzicotto Kensington you’ll be able to find a very interesting and always varied dessert menu. My suggestion, try them all!