This week I met the man who invented tiramisu. And he took me into the kitchen of his bakery! Seriously, if I were a squee-er I'd be sqeeing my little cold, black Slytherin heart out.
Here's the back story. A few weeks ago I found this adorable little Italian bakery that is really off the beaten path. You can tell the place is relatively new, but it is very homey and the pastry case is to die for! I've been telling people about it and have gone in a couple of time. I was extolling the virtues of the place to a grad student from Hopkins and he googled it on his cell phone, but found it listed under a different address. When I got home I checked the website to make sure I'd been giving people the correct address and while I was there I checked out the media tab.
So on my next visit I introduced myself to Bruna, Carminantonio's wife and asked if he was still baking. She assured me he was in the kitchen making the Easter breads. Several minutes later, as I was sipping my cappuccino, he came out to introduce himself and say hello.
I swear I would not have been any more impressed if it were Emeril or Martha Stewart! A very unassuming man, we chatted for a few minutes about the baked goods and holiday baking, then he invited back into the kitchen.
Did you get that? He invited me back into the kitchen!
Stand mixers that I could bath in, stainless steel tables as far as the eye could see and a walk-in oven. We kibitzed a bit about the difference between panettone (Christmas bread) and pani pasquali (Easter bread) (mostly it's just in the shaping) as he nibbled the proofed raw dough. I told him of my love for Fiori di Sicilia (literally "the flowers of Sicily" - a flavor extract of orange and vanilla) and he flourished his own orange extract under my nose.
Easter is this coming Sunday. And although I am not a Christian, Friday I plan another visit to Piedigrotta to get one of those fragrant, raisin-studded, cross-shaped loaves. Sunday morning I will have it toasted with a schmear of fresh butter and a cup of my own house coffee and no doubt feel the promise of spring.