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Sampling Authentic Italian Desserts in Rome
If you’re looking for authentic Italian desserts, Rome is the city for you. When most people think about great Italian cooking, dishes like pizza, lasagna, and spaghetti immediately spring to mind. However, Italy is known for both sweet and savory delicacies. Different cities and regions each have their own take on traditional Italian desserts, but Rome has some of the best food artisans and desserts in the entire country. In any case, before we discuss where to go to sample authentic Italian desserts, let’s look at some of the most common, traditional desserts in Italian cuisine.
Traditional Italian Desserts
You can usually find a version of traditional Italian desserts at restaurants around the world, but many local favorites are unique to Italy. Here are a few traditional Italian desserts that you may have heard of, and some that are not as well known:
Tiramisù is one of the best-known desserts on this list. Combining coffee, chocolate, mascarpone cheese, and fresh cream, authentic tiramisù is one of the best ways to cap off a great meal in Rome. Though tiramisù wasn’t invented until sometime in the 1960s, it is a staple of Italian cuisine today, and one of the most popular Italian cakes worldwide.
Unlike tiiramisù, cannoli are a classic Italian dessert that has been eaten in Italy for centuries. Originating on the island of Sicily, cannoli are now consumed throughout the country. Cannoli are one of the simplest desserts on this list, as it is just a small tube of fried pastry dough filled with cream.
While Migliaccio is a traditional Naples-style dessert, it has also made its way up to Rome. Migliaccio uses ricotta cheese as its primary ingredient, and the final product resembles a baked cheesecake. This dessert is commonly served during the Carnival season.
Babà is another Neapolitan delicacy, though it has its roots in other parts of Europe. This cream-filled pastry is made using rum, before being saturated in syrup. While French or Polish babà is served as a small, round pastry, Neapolitan babà is generally served as a cake that must be cut into slices.
Budino di Riso
Budino di riso comes from Tuscany, though it is a popular dessert in Rome as well. In essence, budino di riso is a simple rice pudding formed into a tart or small cupcake. It is commonly served as a snack or dessert in bars and restaurants throughout the region.
Crostata Ricotta e Visciole
Ricotta is a common ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes in Italy, but crostata ricotta e visciole (“Ricotta tart and sour cherries”) will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. Crostata ricotta e visciole is a traditional Jewish dish, and can be found in many restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto and surrounding Rome neighborhoods. Most recipes include a thick layer of ricotta cheese, topped with sour cherries and a thick pie crust.
While the names above include some of the most popular desserts in Rome, it is certainly not a comprehensive list. There are dozens of other mouth-watering Italian recipes and many more variations on classic desserts. Here are just a few more Italian desserts to look out for while you’re touring the city:
Profiteroles – A sweet pastry filled with cream, commonly known as a “cream puff.”
Crème Caramel – A type of custard topped with a thin layer of caramel sauce.
Gelato – A frozen dessert unique to Italy that is similar to ice cream in flavor and consistency.
Tartufo – A chocolate shell filled with two or more flavors of ice cream and syrup.
Seada – A deep fried dumpling covered in honey.
Torta Barozzi – A thick cake (similar to traditional brownies) that uses almonds and cocoa.
Cassata Siciliana – A sponge cake adorned with ricotta cheese and candied fruit.
Panna Cotta – A gelatin-based mold served with fruit and cream.
Zuppa Inglese – A layered dessert composed of custard and sponge cake.
Sfogliatelle – A shell-shaped pastry with a variety of sweet fillings.
Pasticciotto Leccese – A circular pastry filled with ricotta cheese or custard.
Sbrisolona – A traditional crunchy tart made with almonds.
Bônet – A molded custard using hazelnut, rum, and amaretti.
Torta Caprese – A traditional chocolate cake with walnuts or almonds.
Where to Go for Authentic Italian Desserts in Rome
Now that you know a little more about traditional Italian desserts, it’s time to find out where to get real, authentic Italian desserts in Rome. Not every restaurant, cafe, or bakery makes their desserts from scratch, but if you’re going to travel all the way to The Eternal City, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating the best desserts Rome has to offer. So, here are a few places to get the best, authentic Italian desserts in the city:
Said is all about chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Since 1923, this restaurant (housed in a former chocolate factory) has provided customers with some of the richest chocolate desserts in the city. Whether you want to take a box of exquisite Italian chocolates back home or enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the bar, Said is the place for you. For more information on this San Lorenzo treasure, consult Said’s official website.
There are plenty of places to find great gelato in Rome, but FataMorgana is consistently rated as one of the best ice cream shops around. Owner and gelato expert Maria Agnese rises above the competition by experimenting with new flavors and authentic Italian recipes. To learn more about FataMorgana and Maria Agnese’s unique approach to gelato, check out the website right here.
If you’re in the mood for cannoli, Pasticceria Dagnino is the place to go. That said, this Italian pastry shop has a wide variety of sweets and pastries to choose from. Additionally, Pasticceria Dagnino has ample outdoor seating, so it is a great place to enjoy a pastry and soak in Rome’s beauty. Pasticceria Dagnino doesn’t have an official website, but you can learn more about Pasticceria Dagnino’s offerings and hours of operation at this link.
Giolitti is said to be the oldest ice cream parlor in all of Rome, dating back to the late 19th Century. It is also one of the most popular. Situated a few blocks east of the River Tiber, Giolitti gives passersby a taste of new and innovative gelato flavors in an Old Rome setting. For more information, check out Giolitti’s website.
The owners of Pompi put all of their creative energy into one dessert: tiramisù. While Pompi does serve traditional tiramisù, the majority of their desserts experiment with new and interesting adaptations of the popular Italian dessert. For example, you can get “tiramisù banana e cioccolato,” “tiramisù fragola,” and everything in between. If you’d like to find out more about Rome’s favorite tiramisù shop, consult this link.
Just steps away from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Pasticceria Regoli gives visitors an array of pastries and authentic Italian desserts, right in the heart of Rome. The artisans at Pasticceria Regoli take great care when choosing their ingredients and insist on following authentic Italian dessert recipes. To learn more about their business philosophy and tantalizing menu, check out Pasticceria Regoli’s website right here.
Learn More About the Best Desserts in Rome With RomeLoft
Are looking for some of the best authentic Italian desserts in Rome? If so, the experts at RomeLoft can point you in the right direction. Additionally, we can help you find accommodations to ensure that your trip is one-of-a-kind, comfortable, and stress-free. No matter what you’re looking for in Rome, we can help you get the most out of your vacation. For more information on booking an apartment, tour, or event in Rome, contact RomeLoft today!