For a country that prides itself on its national cuisine, it’s a perennial surprise that Italian desserts are so dismal.
Proper Tiramisu; proper Gelato; proper Coffee Granita – yes, all terrific
Semi-Freddo (Half-melted gelato)
Panacotta (Creme Caramel under an alias and just as unmemorable)
Affogato (Vanilla gelato with a shot of hot espresso. Great concept – sludgy reality)
Assorted torte. (Cakes and pastries – some are delicious, but not exactly dessert are they ?)
Watermelon or fruit salad (No comment)
Is Mont Blanc – that fabulous concoction of chestnut puree, meringue and whipped cream – Italian or French ? If the former, include under ‘Terrific’; if the latter, don’t.
And…er… that’s about it.
Yes, you’ll sometimes come across the unexpected mouthful of something sweet and delicious on an Italian dessert menu, but don’t hold your breath.
Italy is to dessert what Iceland is to pasta.
Italy’s absolute numero uno summer dessert scarcely ever gets a mention anywhere.
In fact, it’s hardly a dessert at all, more an utterly sublime and simple way of ending a good meal.
We’re talking about a Peach in Red Wine.
Here are the ingredients:
The last mouthful of your last glass of red wine
A yellow peach
A hot summer day (Optional but desirable, because this is best enjoyed outside)
What’s essential here is absolute, utter peach perfection. Just-picked and juicy. Not some sad woolly-fleshed offering that’s been sat in the back of a truck pounding along an autostrada for a week.
This is what you do:
Skin the peach. Slice it into your glass of wine. Eat the peach. Drink the wine.
Approx 1 min.
This is so genuinely wonderful, you’ll want to immediately plant a peach tree so you can enjoy this delicacy whenever you want.
It needs absolutely no embellishment whatsoever to adulterate its utter perfection, save maybe trickling into the wine glass whatever peach juice there is after you’ve cut it up.
Not sure if Peach in Red Wine is a nationwide Italian favourite – think it might’ve originated in Tuscany. You probably won’t find it on any menu.
After you’ve enjoyed your next Italian meal, wave away the dessert menu with disdain; just ask for a peach – or nip out and buy one if needs be – and make this yourself.