Category Archives: dessert

In the kitchen with Loredana Betti

By Zara McDowell

Video 1:

MU food writers arrive at the cooking class at Tenuta di Spannocchia, hosted by Loredana Betti. Everyone was handed an apron and a recipe book that included all of the dishes that we were going to make. First, the group started by making the dessert, tiramisu, so it had time to chill in the fridge. Laredona Betti a has been making this dessert for 30 years, yet she showed us step-by-step on how to make it, and then made sure we all sampled our creation half way through the process.

Video 2:
After Loredana Betti’s step-by-step instruction, she let the MU food writers make our own personal tiramisu dish. Needless to say, they were not as pretty as hers, but they still tasted delicious. After making tiramisu, chicken stuffed omelet and asparagus, potatoes with sesame seeds and homemade tagliatelle pasta, Loredana carried out each dish with a smile and sat down to eat with us. She then brought out the tiramisu and everyone indulged in their creation.

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Mesmerized by Magnum

By: Chloe Castleberry

FLORENCE, Italy—Everyday for the past two and a half weeks we have walked by the Magnum Store and everyday I have wanted to go in to the ice cream bar shop with the hopes of making my own Magnum. The Magnum Ice Cream Bar, launched in Germany in 1989 but now owned by the British/Dutch Unilever Company, opened its new location in Florence by the Duomo last month. One night, after a delicious pasta dinner it was unanimously decided that were going.

As people anxiously wait for their turn in line to make their own Magnum, they can check out the many toppings and devise a plan of action. This is a three-step process. First, you choose what flavor of ice cream you want (either vanilla or chocolate). Second, you pick what flavor coating you want on top (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate). Lastly, you pick three toppings that you want drizzled on the finished product. There’s an assortment of choices for this such as pink sprinkles, brownie bits, pretzel bits, red chili flakes, pistachios, chocolate cookie bits and hazelnuts.

The Magnum location, next to Gelateria Edoardo, a popular spot in Florence, means business could probably be doing better. I’d check out both.

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Like a box of chocolates

By Elizabeth Johnson
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FLORENCE, Italy – Forest Gump’s mom told him that life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. I think the same could be said for Florence.

I pass by Migone Confetti almost every day on my way to class. For two weeks, I have been mesmerized by its window displays from afar. And by afar, I mean two feet away on the sidewalk. But today, I decided it would finally be the day I entered this beautiful shop.
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I expected Migone to be similar to American candy stores but slightly nicer. I thought to myself, it will probably have some chocolates, some gummies, maybe a few sour things here and there. When I finally I walked in, Migone had all these things and more. There were the traditional Florentine sweets: panforte, ricciarelli, cantuccini. But my personal favorite was the handmade chocolates packaged in the most elegant little boxes. I knew immediately that I had to have one.

As I walked out of the store and looked at my newest purchase, I realized that I had no idea what flavors awaited me in the little white box. Then I had another revelation. Few of the things I had experienced in Florence so far had been “expected.”

I definitely didn’t expect to spend 18 euro on a box of chocolates. But like all the other unexpected things I’ve tried, it was well worth it.

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Italy’s peanut: the hazelnut

By Breckyn Crocker
FLORENCE, Italy— Peanuts are a staple to the American lifestyle. They fill our grocery stores in jars of peanut butter, are cracked open at baseball games, are munched on at bars and compliment the creaminess of a chocolate ice cream cone with the perfect crunch. But in Italy, another nut shines as the star of the show: the hazelnut.

Italy is the world’s second leading hazelnut producer after Turkey and produces seven tenths of the world demand. Hazelnuts make the perfect crunch on a biscotti cookie, an Italian cake, and even create a wonderful gelato flavor.

An even bigger celebrity than the nut itself is the sweetened hazelnut chocolate spread commonly known by the brand Nutella. The sweet, gooey, creaminess of Nutella is unlike the salty staple of peanut butter. It’s better.

In 1946, Pietro Ferrero bakery’s in Alba, Piedmont, produced the first version of the hazelnut chocolate cream in an attempt to save money on chocolate. His creation turned out to be pure genius, and in 1963, Ferrero’s son Michele Ferrero marketed the “supercrema” to produce the first jar of Nutella in the Ferro factory. Deservedly, they are now among the richest families in Italy.

Just walking through the grocery store in Italy, you will be able to find a whole shelf of heavenly jars of Nutella. They’re there, as well, in any café, restaurant, or gelateria. And the rest of the world has caught on to this nutty deliciousness. So thank you, Italy and Mr. Ferrero, for the hazelnut and it’s creamy chocolate counterpart.

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Panna cotta anyone?

By Claire Lardizabal

FLORENCE, Italy—The white gelatinous dome drizzled with dark pink raspberry sauce wiggled as our server brought it towards the table.

“Panna cotta?” he asked.

I claimed it and sliced my spoon into the custard-like concoction, ignoring the fact I spent the last 45 minutes consuming bread, house Chianti, fresh bruschetta and lasagna.

The spoonful melted in my mouth. How can this little dome of perfection be so sweet, light, creamy yet rich all at once? The panna cotta was devoured within minutes, a simple and delicate ending to another traditional Italian meal.

Panna cotta translates as cooked cream. No one knows of its exact genesis, except that the dessert began showing up in the northern Italian Langhe region of Piedmont in the early twentieth century. Panna cotta is made like Jell-O, except gelatin and milk is melted into boiled cream and sugar, then cooled into molds in a refrigerator until the liquid sets.

Here is a recipe to try panna cotta at home.

Panna Cotta
1/3 cup skim milk
1 (0.25 ounce) envelope of unflavored gelatin
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Pour milk into a small bowl and stir in gelatin powder. Set aside. In a saucepan, stir heavy cream and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a full boil. Watch carefully so the cream does not boil over the sides of the pan. Pour milk and gelatin mixture into the cream, stirring until dissolved. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into six individual ramekin dishes. Cool the ramekins at room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight before serving. Serve with fresh fruit or sauce, such as raspberries.

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Take the Cannoli

By: Chloe Castleberry

FLORENCE, Italy—I was lucky enough to go to Trattoria Il Porcospino, which literally translates to the porcupine, on the day when the torta del giorno, also known as dessert of the day, was cannoli: two delectable chocolate cannoli shells with creamy ricotta filling and fresh fruit bits, topped with powdered sugar. The restaurant, located at Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini, also served an amazing Bolognese pasta, but it was the cannoli, the service and the ambiance that really made the experience. Don’t be turned away from the strange name or the even stranger porcupine stuffed animal sitting in the menu window. Give this place a chance, but most importantly, take the cannoli.

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