Yes, I think I am becoming a tiramisu expert. I love this dessert so much that whenever I visit an Italian restaurant I order it. And even if I am tempted to order something else, I still see myself ordering a tiramisu. Why? Why does Art influence us? Nobody can explain, and such is also the mystery of tiramisu. To be indulgent and delicious, it has to awaken the sublest senses of your tongue, it has to please the eye, and above all, it has to melt in your mouth, leaving you wanting more. Having once had two tiramisus, I now try to bridle my seemingly well-developed gastronomic faculties. But nothing can stop us from enjoying Art, especially when it is the art of making a perfect tiramisu.
I have just found out, in fact, that tiramisu as a “standard” recipe is not too old, and it may even be younger than yours truly. The Washington Post 2007 article on the trail of tiramisu tries to age the recipe by dating it back to the First World War, but the Italian authors claim that the first documented mentions of this recipe appear possibly in the 1970s, but most probably already in the 1980s. At any rate, the story of this layered cake still seems to be in the making, and the good testimony to that are the numerous reverberations on the standard recipe theme. There is a traditional recipe from Heston Blumenthal @ The Times Online; then there is a Lemon Tiramisu from the BBC Recipes… and then is a Beeramisu, an intriguing twist on the traditional recipe, found at 101 Cookbooks. If you want to know my opinion, I’d go with Beeramisu: not only is it still quite new, but there is also a good chance to try and use some of those continental beers that you can buy at a Christmas Market. So, instead of drinking those beers from plastic glasses in the cold, see if you can buy enough to cook a beeramisu at home.
And… back to our sheep. Villaggio, the Italian restaurant in Manchester’s Canal Street, has long been recommended to me as a good place to eat, but I have only very recently visited it – to my great pleasure. Thanks to the regular clientele, the restaurant is getting by even during the credit crunch, although like many other venues in the Gay Village it has felt the impact. The good news is that the crunch did not seem to have impacted the quality of food. The food (without drinks, but including a dessert) is likely to be about £20, to which you can add a glass or a bottle of wine, and a liquer coffee. I will not go into more detail on what I had at Villaggio, because you can see and read short descriptions from the menu in Villaggio’s Flickr set. The venue is located on two floors, and on the ground floor you are to be seated either in a compact bar area, or in a trendy lounge, entertained by modern music and colour lighting.
Most importanly, I had a delicious tiramisu there. With a brandy coffee. Recommended.