The Laidback Gourmet: Balconi Tirimisu

Tis the Season to be Reviewing…

As has become our holiday custom, wont you enjoy a little Christmas music to enhance the mood?

Buon Natale and welcome to yet another rocking around the Christmas Tree edition of the Laidback Gourmet. Christmas is just a few days away and what better way to celebrate than to enjoy one of my all time favorite desserts; Tirimisu. How is this traditional Italian dessert Christmas related? Actually, its more of a personal thing. I always seem to find myself eating this dessert around Christmas time, either store bought or home made, however I have never seen Tirimisu quite like this before.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of enjoying this awesome dessert, Tirimisu is an Italian cake which is made out of hard cookies (lady fingers) soaked in espresso, which is then layered between a cream made out of marscapone cheese, cream, sugar, and brandy. The whole thing is then topped with chocolate. When made right it really is one of my favorite foods on the planet.

So when I was shopping at Top Tomato the other day and I saw this sitting on the shelf I was instantly curious. As I explained, Tirimisu is traditionally made out of marscapone cheese and cream. So how can tirimisu just be sitting on an unrefrigerated shelf? This definitely required further investigating. So let’s open this up and see what we’re working with here.

Well, it LOOKS like tirimisu, although I’m still puzzled. It wasn’t sealed in anything more airtight than the plastic case its sitting in and the the plastic wrapping it came in. Curiouser and curiouser. Let’s perform a deeper analysis by dissecting a piece off the subject. In other words, let’s cut a slice.

Well, it’s got the layers one would expect in a tirimisu. I mean, the look isn’t perfect, since it looks like they just used flat pieces of cake instead of individual lady fingers, but that’s not really that surprising. I’m also getting a distinct whiff of alcohol. The whole thing actually smells good. Let’s take a look at the piece I’ll be (hopefully) enjoying.

Honestly, it LOOKS good. It SMELLS good. I suppose hearing is out, so I guess the last two senses we have to worry about is taste and touch and there’s only one way to investigate those properly. Let’s taste this already.

Om nom nom

You know, if you asked me before I opened this, how do you think this is going to taste, my answer would have been “dry and lousy”. I suppose that should teach me not to judge my chickens by their covers (or something like that) because it actually has a nice creamy texture and a really nice flavor. Oh, don’t get me wrong, its not nearly as creamy or as tasty as freshly made tirimisu, but come on, what do you really expect? Honestly I’m surprised it tastes as good as it does!

All the traditional flavors are here. Coffee, cream, lady fingers, etc. Although, remember when I said I was detecting a whiff of alcohol, well, there’s apparently a reason for that. This is one potent cake! I’m serious! I think you could get buzzed if you ate this whole. I suspect that’s what is keeping the cake both moist and preserved. A quick look at the ingredient list puts Coffee Liquor as the 3rd ingredient. The 6th ingredient is Marsala wine. So yea… there’s a little bit of booze in this cake. Other than the slightly strong flavor of alcohol, this cake is quite good. 8/10. I’d recommend going out and getting some REAL tirimisu, but if that’s not an option for you, this cake makes and adequate substitute.

Well, that pretty much wraps up this Christmas edition of the Laidback Gourmet. Wrap up… get it? Thank you as always for reading, and as always, please email me your thoughts, suggestions, or Holiday wishes at This is Ed DiFolco, your Laidback Gourmet, who has to go excuse himself, I need to think of a drinking game we use to eat this cake with.

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