The best Italian dessert and sweets

Quite often I hear foreign people say “Italy is great for food, but they don’t have great desserts”. I know that there are countries with a more important tradition of dessert and sweets but if you have a sweet tooth and you visit Italy you don’t have any to worry.

Here below you can find a list of my favourite dessert you can taste in Italy

  1. Tiramisu
  2. Pasticcini
  3. Gelato (ice cream)
  4. Torta millefoglie alla crema
  5. Cannolo Siciliano
  6. Granita
  7. Cioccolato Italiano Italian Chocolate
  8. Sorbetto al limone (Lemon sorbay)
  9. Torta di mele (apple cake)
  10. Torta alla carota (carrots cake)
  11. Crema al mascarpone
  12. Italian Biscotti Cantuccini and Baci di Dama


Tiramisù is a rich dessert made with mascarpone cheese, eggs, coffee, sugar and cocoa powder. The name tiramisu means “pull me up” because it’s very rich in calories and therefore energy. The process to prepare it’s quite simple, however you need very fresh ingredients like mascarpone cheese and fresh eggs to make a nice tiramisù.

The second secret is to use the savoiardi biscuits instead of ‘pan di spagna’ as they preserve a little crunchiness to it, instead the pan di spagna is very soft and can become a little soggy. To prepare the tiramisù in fact you need to slightly deep the buiscuits in the coffee for a few second.

Tiramisu is one of the most famous Italian dessert


Italian pasticcini
Italian pasticcini are small cakes like little bignet, cream cannoli or tiny little fruit cakes. They are so little that they are also called mignon from French language where it means “little”.

Italian gelato – ice cream

Strawberry ice cream
Strawberry ice cream
Pistacchio ice cream
Pistacchio ice cream

Italian cakes: apple cake, carrots cake.

Torta di mele - apple cake. Is a traditional Italian recipe and it's made with flour, eggs and fresh sliced apples.
Torta di mele – apple cake. Is a traditional Italian recipe and it’s made with flour, eggs and fresh sliced apples. Image credit

Carrot cake

Torta alle carote - Carrots cake
Torta alle carote – Carrots cake

Torta millefoglie alla crema

The torta mille foglie, which means a thousand leaves

millefoglie cake with chantilly cream

The Italian biscotti

The Italian biscuits biscotti, the name comes from the fact that are cooked twice, deserve a special attention in Italian cooking.

Some of my favourites biscotti include:

  • Cantucci, the classic Tuscan biscotti
  • Baci di Dama, 2 vanilla crunchy sides with a tender chocolate layer in the middle
  • Amaretto, the sweet and bitter biscuit flavoured by the bitter almonds

The cantuccini biscuits from Tuscany

There are many and ancient stories about the origins of Cantuccino biscuit.

Many people claim that the name could originate from “canto”, that means the corner or part of a whole, or else from “cantellus” a Latin word that refers to “piece or slice of bread”. The origins of Cantuccini date back to the 1500s, but they only appeared in its sweet flavor soon after the spread of cane sugar.
While others mention that the word Cantuccio refers to the discarded part of sweet loaf – prepared by bakers for wealthiest people – eaten by poor peasant families.

Starting from the second half of the 1500s, the fragrance of freshly baked Cantuccini permeated every corner of the Medici Court and it was Caterina de’ Medici, a connoisseur of culinary art, the one that asked for an enrichment of the dough with almonds.

Cantuccio with chocolate

The spreading of Cantuccini in several variants characterized the 18th century, but it was only from the 1900s that more and more pastry chefs took on the production of almond Cantuccini and helped the widespread of this Tuscan specialty worldwide.

Baci di dama

Two round biscuits kissing each other with a drop of dark chocolate to keep them stuck to each other. Baci di dama literally means lady’s kisses in Italian.

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