Rome Sweet Rome

by Danilo Brunetti

If your favorite part of the meal is dessert, you’re in the right city, says Federico Schiaffino.

Rome’s magic number is 7. After all, there are seven hills, seven holy churches, seven kings, and—at least in our opinion seven gluttonous delicacies: tiramisù, maritozzo, millefoglie, torta della nonna, torta di ricotta e visciole, zuppa inglese, and profiterole. Where can you find the best of these sugary treats? Here are the most reliable sweet spots.

Tiramisù

TIRAMISÙ – Without a doubt, Bar Pompi (Via Albalonga, 7) has reigned as the king of tiramisù for nearly six decades. What began as a humble, family-run business has since expanded into a mini-empire, with five
separate stores scattered across the city. While Pompi offers the classic recipe—lady fingers dipped in espresso and layered with mascarpone cream and cocoa—they also whip up more creative interpretations, like tiramisù with Nutella and banana; strawberries and cream; pistachio; hazelnut; and their “Colombamisù,” made with layers of Easter colomba cake and chocolate chips.

MARITOZZO – This exquisite sweet roll is filled to the brim with whipped cream and typically eaten for breakfast. In the olden days, men would give their ancées maritozzi as a romantic gesture. The top maritozzi are found at Pasticceria Regoli (Via dello Statuto, 60) in the Esquilino neighborhood, Il Maritozzaro (Via 3 Ettore Rolli, 50) in Trastevere, and Pasticceria Andreotti (Via Ostiense, 54) in Ostiense, the pastry shop
featured in Ferzan Özpetek’s 2003 film Facing Windows (La Finestra di Fronte).

Millefoglie

MILLEFOGLIE – The go-to spot for millefoglie (paper-thin layers of pastry dough and vanilla custard) is unquestionably Pasticceria Cavalletti (Via Nemorense, 179/181), a historic pastry shop that locals believe has the best millefoglie in the city, perhaps even in all of Italy. It’s a good idea to pre-order this dessert in advance, as they typically sell out in under an hour. Fun fact: rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth demands millefoglie as part of her royal birthday feast every year.

Torta della Nonna

TORTA DELLA NONNA – Translated as “grandma’s cake,” this comfort food dessert, a vanilla and lemon custard pie sprinkled with pine nuts, is a bestseller at Pasticceria Romoli (Viale Eritrea, 142). Their version includes pastry cream made from organic eggs, carefully selected pine nuts, and a perfectly crumbly pastry crust. It’s a pie that might even challenge grandma’s original recipe! Another unmissable address for this delicacy 7 is Dolce Kosher (Via Fonteiana, 18).

Crostata ricotta e visciole

CROSTATA DI RICOTTA E VISCIOLE – This classic Jewish-Roman crostata, or pie, is generously stu ed with sweetened ricotta cheese and sour cherries (or, in an alternative version, miniature chocolate chips). Romans and tourists willingly brave long lines at Pasticceria Boccione (Via Portico d’Ottavia, 1), the historic bakery of the Ghetto that connoisseurs judge unanimously as the best place for sweets in the neighborhood. Their crostata sells out fast; get there early to grab a slice. Another unmissable address for this traditional delicacy is Dolce Kosher (Via Fonteiana, 18).

Zuppa Inglese

ZUPPA INGLESE – Despite its name (literally “English soup”), this is a strictly Roman dish. Except for some similarities to trifle, there is little that is British about zuppa inglese. The ingredients of this soft, spoon-eaten dessert include Italian sponge cake, pastry cream, cocoa, and Alchermes liquor. This recipe is carried out to perfection at the historic pas- try shop Pasticceria Marinari (Corso Trieste, 95), who use only high-quality ingredients in their sugary concoctions.

Profiterole

PROFITEROLE – This dessert originated in Tuscany, but has since been adopted whole-heartedly by the gluttons of Rome. The profiterole is without a doubt the pride of the pastry shop Dolci Desideri (Via Barilli Anton Giulio, 66). The chef’s recipe for these delectable chocolate-covered cream puffs is unparalleled. Sugar coma guaranteed.