By: Kaitlynn Martin
CHIUSDINO, Italy- Although the green-shuttered window was open, the air stood still and refused to venture into the brick-ceiling kitchen. Dark, rich lakes of espresso sat silently in clear bowls arranged on the kitchen’s island. Their surface stillness shattered with a splash from a long Pavesini cookie. Tiramisu was underway.
The clinking of spoons against mixing bowls with fluffy egg whites orchestrated an early afternoon melody. Dark chocolate shavings kissed the tops of ladyfinger-like cookies layered above a mascarpone cheese and egg mixture. Sweet layers piled to create the Italian dessert of tiramisu.
Loredana Betti, the leader of the Italian cooking class, watched as her students carefully scooped and sprinkled ingredients. She knew little English, so smooth Italian spilled from her mouth and filled the kitchen with instructions and jokes.
With a dusting of cocoa powder over the final white layer, the individual tiramisu cups were completed. Two hours set and chilled the layers to create a delicious combination of bold espresso and bitter chocolate.
Tiramisu in Italian translates to “pick-me-up,” most likely a reference to its content of coffee and sugar. The layered cake with ingredients of eggs, sugar, mascarpone cheese, ladyfinger cookies, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso and rum, is one of Italy’s most popular desserts, but is not always served after meals. A typical Italian dinner concludes with fresh fruit. If an elegant slice of tiramisu is presented, it usually calls for a celebration.
The mid-June afternoon in the Tuscan countryside was not designated as a special holiday, but individual round bowls of tiramisu were made nonetheless. Sometimes the greatest holidays are not printed in bold ink on calendars. They are instead, simple celebrations of life.