In keeping with their love for food, Italians have made an art of cooking desserts as well.
If you love sweets, you are certain to fall in love with something on this list.
Perhaps the most well-known of all Italian desserts, this is a coffee flavored dessert with disputed origins that means "pick-me-up" in English. It's layered with a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, mascarpone cheese, cocoa and savoiardi (ladyfingers are often substituted here) dipped in espresso. What's undisputed is its popularity.
Italy’s answer to ice cream, gelato merits its own post. Its flavors are not only scrumptious, but clever and creative. Try a cold fruit flavored sorbeto to cool off during your summer vacation in Italy, or if you're in the mood for something creamy, tiramisu, stracciatella or one of several rich chocolates, with or without nuts.
3. Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is a sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded, similar to a flan or crème brûlée. Originating in the Piedmont region, it often is served with berries or covered in a chocolate or caramel. Sometimes rum, coffee, vanilla or other liqueurs are included for a unique twist.
4. Tartufo di Pizzo
A handmade type of ice cream that’s shaped into a ball using a chocolate shell and sprinkled with cinnamon and cocoa, this unforgettable dessert originated in the town of Pizzo in Calabria. Story has it that at an elaborate dinner for King Victor Emmanuel, his pastry maker came up with the idea of serving the tartufo on a plate by rolling it into a ball using a chocolate shell to maintain its shape.
A Sicilian specialty, cannoli have achieved worldwide acclaim. Cannoli consists of fried shells surrounding a ricotta cheese mixture with chocolate chips, candied fruit and pistachio nuts. The traditional recipe involves sheep's milk ricotta for the filling and lard; and wine and flour in the shells.
Layers of cheese, cake and custard combine to make this Easter favorite. This elaborately decorated layered cake was created by Sicilians and the cake layers are soaked in liqueur before being decorated.
Originally an Italian Christmas tradition, Latin Americans also have made the gifting and eating of this fruitcake a requisite of the holiday season. The real thing, made from yeasty brioche dough, is nothing like its much maligned American counterpart.
Biscotti began as twice baked almond flavored biscuits or cookies created in Tuscany in the 18th century. It’s now a well-known Italian biscuit, adopted all over with different names and regional variations from the original Italian recipe. These biscuits are generally served only as a dessert dipped into a drink, such as a dessert wine.
Ciarduna are a type of tube-shaped type of sweet pastry hailing from Palermo, Sicily. They feature an almond filled shell usually filled with either ricotta or mascarpone, sometimes chocolate or powdered sugar. They are a perfect after dinner sweet when you want a little indulgence.