The eponymous phrase La Dolce Vita – The Sweet Life that is ascribed to Rome with both affection and irony can also be taken quite literally. Sugary sweets that start your day, provide a late afternoon pick me up or end your evening meal abound in the Eternal City. These are our favorite 7 desserts you shouldn’t miss in Rome.
Maritozzi con la Panna. This just barely sweet yeasted roll is split and filled with freshly whipped and sweetened cream and is most easily found in local Roman bars first thing in the morning. The name is derived from the word marito meaning husband. The word maritozzi means almost married and these sweet cream filled buns were traditionally presented by young grooms to heir brides just before the wedding.
Gelato. You can not visit Rome and not try this famous frozen treat. Hopefully more than once. Made with less air and with a denser structure than ice cream, gelato is also lower in fat. When on the hunt for the best gelato in Rome, look for pistachio that is a dusky rather than florescent green to ensure you are tasting the good stuff and not an inferior produced with artificial flavors and stabilizers. To make sure that the gelato was made on site or hand-made look for signs that say Produzione propria or Produzione artigianale.
Rome’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world. The cuisine that began with this tight-knit community has become an integral part of traditional Roman cuisine. Two very important sweets to know about are Torta di Ricotta and
Torta di Ricotta comes in two varieties, both with a pastry crust topped with creamy ricotta cheese that is either studded with dark chunks of chocolate or swirled with tart visciole – wild cherry jam. You can find Torte di Ricotta at many pastries shops in Rome.
Pizze is a a sweet dough that is stuffed to almost bursting with candied pieces of fruit, almonds and pine nuts. You could liken it to a kind of fruitcake. It is baked until the top is almost black which creates a caramelized crunch. You can only find pizza Jewish ghetto neighborhood of Rome.
Crostata. Did you love pop-tarts when you were a kid? Crostata is the very grown-up Italian version of that childhood treat. A sweet shortbread base is generously slathered with homemade jam, usually apricot or cherry, though you can also find nutella versions topped with a lattice crust and then baked. Servings are thin triangles that look like jewels. If you are lucky enough to get a slice still warm from the oven all the better.
Ciambelline al Vino. If you have reached your sugar quota by the end of your dinner but still desire just a bite of something sweet ask for a small plate of ciambelline al vino, sugared cookies made with wine. Coated with large grains of sugar and donut round in shape, these crunchy sweets are delicious when dunked into the last swallow of your glass of wine.
Tiramisu. You will find as many varieties of tiramisu as you find restaurants in Rome. The classic ingredients of rich mascarpone cheese sweetened and whipped with fresh egg yolks topping coffee and marsala soaked biscuits rarely changes. The ratio of sweetened cream to rich egg yolks, the type of cookie used from the traditional and elegant light as air, ladyfinger Savoiardi style to a rustic Gentilli Osvego (a honey butter) biscuit that serves as a crunchy foil to the creamy mascarpone.
These are just a few of our favorite sweet treats to discover in Rome. Which one is your favorite?