Tiramisu is an Italian term that translates to "pick me up," as in "make me happy." These days, the delicate dessert of liquor- or espresso-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone, custard and cocoa is easy to pick up in local grocery stores. Taster's Choice found four on a recent shopping trip, and judges said at least three of the treats would put them in a good mood.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
|Product/Score (out of 100)||GFS Marketplace/ 75||Publix/65||Mazzaro's Italian Market/50||Albertsons/42|
|How'd it look?||Very inviting. The cake slices were large wedges with attractive dots of cocoa powder on top. On a nice plate, it could be served in any upscale restaurant.||The slices had a pretty design on top with pieces of chocolate. The dessert had a wide layer of mascarpone.||Homemade and a little messy.||Not especially appetizing, the desserts came in tiny, individual cups.|
|Judges' comments||"This is very light and dreamylike," said one panelist. "It has a nice balance of mascarpone and whipped cream," said another. "I can taste the espresso — very nice. It really melts on your tongue like a cheesy chocolate cloud."||Judges described the flavor of the store-baked tiramisu as "excellent." They especially liked the creamy texture and the richness. "It has a good coffee flavor and a hint of maple," said one taster.||The cake was soft and moist with a rich mascarpone flavor and a "slight booze edge."||The flavor was a lot like instant pudding, judges said.|
|Would they buy?||All four of the judges said yes.||All four of the judges said yes.||Three of the four judges said yes.||None of the judges would buy this brand.|
|Shopping information||$17.49 for a 38-ounce cake at Gordon Food Service stores.||$5.49 at Publix bakeries.||Available at the bakery of the St. Petersburg Italian market. $4 a slice.||$4.99 for two 6-ounce servings.|
Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Times Food Critic Laura Reiley. All foods were tasted blind.
Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.