Nothing gives a little lift to the end of a long Italian lunch like a tiramisu. The classic dessert manages to make something that should be weighty (lots of egg, cream, mascarpone, coffee liqueur and coffee-soaked Savoiardi biscuits) feel like a fluffy, cloud-like dream. No matter how much pasta you've scoffed, or how big your bistecca Fiorentina was, somehow we always find room for a little tiramisu, the pick-me-up that puts a caffeinated spring in your step and a little extra shot of booze in your belly.
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Sydney's best tiramisu
Trisha Greentree is the freshly minted head chef of Paddington’s beloved Italian wine bar 10 William Street, stepping into the space left by outgoing chef Enrico Tomelleri. But it wouldn’t be 10 William Street if it didn’t have the pretzel and whipped bottarga on the menu, three pastas and the tiramisù, which is made with a classic combo of a sabayon and mascarpone and possesses more airy lift than a helium balloon.
At this Italianesque pop-up restaurant in an old nightclub on Oxford Street the tiramisu comes with three times the booze and coffee than standard offerings. Chef Dan Johnston says, “You need to feel that alcohol in it, feel the heat from the rum,” and we’re inclined to agree with him. If you’re starting to feel over-soaked with calories (and liquor), you can always take the path of greatest refreshment with a sharp lemon sorbet served in a lemon peel shell.
We might be a city of shifting dining whims, but our love of classic Italian never falters. A whole lot of European gesticulation goes on at Fratelli Paradiso, on here, both from the accented floor staff greeting regulars like they’re family and from diners recanting grandiose tales over rustic plates. Once you've made short work of their famous scampi spaghetti or the bistecca Fiorentinas, the right ending note is their extra fluffy tiramisu.
Want to impress your next load of dinner party guests? Serve ’em the $20 tiramisu from Saga. Bowdy is soaking the Savoiardi biscuits in tequila, mixing white chocolate into the mascarpone and throwing some Kahlua jelly in there for good measure. If you're in a greedy mood, they also come in smaller sizes so you can sit in and treat yourself, maybe with a bourbon-caramel milkshake for good measure.
Like an oasis in the desert, a charming Italian trattoria is the last thing you expect to find in the quiet backstreets of residential Alexandria. The combination of dark timber, warm candlelight, soft leather banquettes, excellent wine and one of Sydney’s most tender steaks is compelling. The only thing missing from this perfect Italian scene is a fluffy tiramisu that seems to defy gravity, and it’s yours for the asking.
When you're dealing with the classics it's important to consider how far you're willing to stray from tradition (remember 'peagate', when the NYT published a guacamole recipe with peas and everyone lost their minds). People have expectations around Italian desserts, and regard change suspiciously, but at the Dolphin, the addition of paper thin leaves of Australian bean to bar dark chocolate from Zokoko to their tiramisu lends it a delightful cracking sensation and a bright cocoa acidity that lifts the richness of all that aerated cheese.