This is my philosophy about desserts: “It’s got to be worth the calories”. Forget diet cookies and low-fat ice-cream. If I am going to have something sweet, it must be the most decadent dessert there is on the menu.
In Italy there is such a variety of homemade sweets that they have little shops like “Luigi Passadore’s” that cater to every mouth-watering craving imaginable. Some of the unique treats that have become my favorites are their Marron glace (sugared chestnuts), Pepperoncino chocolate (chocolate with a hint of hot chili peppers) and Candied flowers (violets and rose petals – I have often seen these in France so it could be a French candy).
I love trying new foods and yet when most people think of Italian cuisine, they rarely think of their desserts. Aside from the traditional panatone at Christmas and of course their world famous gelato, the rest of it seems to have been somewhat ignored. And after all, I can sort of see why. After eating all that wonderful pasta and veal scaloppini, who’s got room for dessert?
One of the things I have noticed is that my idea of Italian cuisine has expanded beyond my original beliefs. You see, most of the Italian immigrants in Canada came from Calabria in the South. The cooking styles of Calabria are much different from that of Genova.
One of my favorite Genovese specialties is actually a simple addition to minestrone soup. Next time you have it add a spoonful of pesto, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Add it to your bowl, not to the pot. If you cook the pesto it will change its flavour.
I am sure there are a lot more dishes that I could rhyme off and plenty more desserts too. But for now I will leave you with just this hint of what’s out there to be discovered…in the meantime I will get back to my sugar fix and munch on a few more flowers : )
Life’s short, so why not eat dessert first?