Tiramisu is the best Italian dessert. You better believe I went there. Yes, gelato, cannoli, panna cotta, biscotti, and bombolone are all deliciously awesome. However, the combination of eggs, sugar, mascarpone, cocoa powder, and coffee that makes up a classic tiramisu is pretty damn unbeatable. And if you don’t agree, GET THE HELL OUT OF MY KITCHEN!!! Whoa, sorry about that. I was channeling my inner Gordon Ramsay. I need to keep that under control, but seriously, I think that with one swift stream of curse words, he’d banish anyone who disagrees with the fact that tiramisu is godly.
So why all this tiramisu talk? Well, Rome has its very own café dedicated to this quintessentially Italian dessert. Yes, you read that correctly. THERE IS A TIRAMISU CAFÉ! Zum specializes in creating high quality tiramisu themed desserts. Cue the mad exodus of foodies to Rome!
When I read about Zum, I knew that I had to prioritize a visit to this café. I’m extremely fond of tiramisu. I love it, I genuinely do. If I could marry it, I potentially (read: definitely) would. The thought of entering a tiramisu paradise in Italy’s capital was euphoric. So after my lovely lunch experience at Alfredo e Ada, I carried on to Zum for dessert. Now if you’re wondering why it’s called Zum, it’s an acronym for tiramisu’s key ingredients: zucchero (sugar), uovo (egg), and mascarpone (cheese). Clever, eh?
The café is modern and small, but welcoming. Upon entering, two things catch your eye. Firstly, there is the dessert laboratory. It’s a magical place. Behind a large pane of glass, you can see the desserts being whipped, piped, and layered (see video above). Secondly, there is the display case which houses all the varieties of fresh tiramisu. On the day of my visit, some of the flavours available were: classic; Amaretto, marsala, candied squash; Pistachio di Bronte; Frutti di bosco (mixed berry); and Gusto Zum (biscuits and hazelnut).
To the left of the tiramisu display, there was also a stand-alone fridge which contained other desserts like large tiramisu cakes, large mascarpone tarts, chocolate-coated tiramisu popsicles, and tiramisu cookies (a mascarpone filling sandwiched between two cookies with one end dipped in chocolate and coated in nuts). I legit wanted it ALL! Everything looked tiramiseriffic…ok, I’ll admit that it’s a pun in progress, but you get the idea!
Having just eaten a hearty plate of carbonara, I couldn’t get one of everything (though I really, really wanted to). I decided that a classic tiramisu and a coffee were a good idea. I felt that to get a fair judgment of the place, I had to go with the classic flavour for the sake of comparison to other tiramisus I’ve previously eaten. When I went to the counter to order, I saw on the drinks menu that there was something called a “caffe Zum”. I asked about it and was told that it was a coffee with an injection of rum and a topping of mascarpone cream and cocoa powder. Whaaatttttt?! I had to go for it! When in Rome, eh!
I couldn’t wait to dig into my tiramisu. Both the drink and the dessert looked so incredibly appetizing. I took my first bite of the tiramisu… SPEECHLESS! It. Was. Perfect! The mascarpone was sweet and creamy without being overpowering. The sponge cake inside was moist and soaked in coffee, but most importantly, it wasn’t soggy. Everything about this tiramisu was balanced. I JUST WANT TO EAT IT ALL OVER AGAIN! I had a moment with every bite. During my 3.5 days in Rome, I ate tiramisu at four different places. The one at Zum was hands down, without a doubt, the ultimate champion of the tiramisu competition.
As I basked in my sense of foodie satisfaction, I happily watched the laboratory in action. There was something relaxing about seeing mascarpone being methodically piped into little mountains of sweet deliciousness. It was also enlightening to see how they actually make these fine treats. It was like dessert and a show!
Obviously, I’m enamoured with Zum. The café is a treat to your eyes and your taste buds. I would have loved to try more of their treats, especially the other flavours and the tiramisu cookie! But alas, my appetite didn’t allow for it. Zum has certainly set the bar for outstanding and flavourful tiramisu (and I envy anyone who has easy access to this fine establishment). If I ever return to Rome, I’ll definitely return to Zum on an emptier stomach! And you’d be wise to do the same.