Are you planning to visit Italy by the next weeks or months, maybe exploiting the special offers in store for you on agencies like ItalyXP? It is likely that you have already set up a tight schedule of destinations that you don’t want to miss for no reason at all. But Italian culture is not only monuments and historical locations: Italian culture comes from below, from the essential, primary needs of a community. First and foremost, the need of a proper nourishment.
Until the middle of the last century, Italy was prevalently a peasant country: therefore, popular and traditional cuisine was predominant even when the mass industrialization began (approximately between 1960 and 1965). The heritage of this traditions has been passed on from generation to generation, up to our days. The richness and the variety of every regional tradition has made Italian cuisine one of the most appreciated and admired almost everywhere. From the main courses to the desserts, Italy offers a remarkable range of typical dishes, many of which should be absolutely tasted by a foreigner, as an indispensable part of his immersion into the cultural horizon of this land. In the following lines, we are going to focus on desserts, mentioning the ones that nobody should miss when he first comes to Italy.
- Babà. The king of Neapolitan desserts: a massive mushroom-shaped sponge-cake, soaked in sugar syrup and rum and finally allowed to dry from the excess liquid. The origins of this mini-cake will take us to Poland first and France right after, but only when it’s been adopted by the Neapolitan pastry chefs (around the first decades of 19th Century) it became a worldwide delicacy.
- Tiramisù. The most renowned – and the easier as well – Italian spoon dessert recipe was created apparently between the Fifties and the Sixties of the last century: the authorship of this peculiar creation is shared among several restaurants and cafes located in the North-East of the peninsula, throughout the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia-Giulia. It is made with two or more layers of savoiardi biscuits (the Italian rendition of ladyfingers) soaked in coffee, covered with a special cream made with mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar and a small amount of a spirit (typically Alchermes). Everything is finally covered with powdered bitter cocoa.
- The typical Sardinian dessert: a fried puff pastry filled with cheese (even the most savory ones, like the Sardinian pecorino) and covered with a thick layer of honey. Its matching between sweet and savory is highly unlikely, and it might taste a bit odd at first. But once you overcome the initial impact, you can easily get along with it.
- From Sardinia to Sicily for the most important dessert of the biggest Italian island. A hollow cylinder of pastry dough filled with sweet ricotta and then covered, at either end, with finely chopped pieces of pistachios and/or some candied fruits. A lot of variations have been invented through the years, not only in Sicily. Nevertheless, the Sicilian originals still remain the most appreciated ones, especially by the tourists.