The first time all of us at the Villa heard about chocolate salami, none of us knew what to expect. It was the second week in Florence and already we had grown accustomed to overeating at lunchtime because of the incredible three course spread. To this day, it is still a great wonder to me how any of us managed to finish off multiple bowls of pasta, followed by plates of meats and cheese, while drinking glasses of wine and then still have room for dessert; but if you could have seen the desserts at the Villa, you would have found the room, too.
During this infamous dessert introduction, our Resident Advisor announced that the day’s dessert was a popular Italy treat often enjoyed alongside a cup of hot espresso. When pressed whether or not it would be something with Nutella, a torte, or perhaps even cannoli, she said we would just have to wait and see. So when the time came to line up at the buffet and pick up our plates for dessert, all of us were confused by the site of a treat that resembled processed meat. Fittingly enough, our RA said that was precisely why the dessert was called chocolate salami.
Although the name and the look of it made some people put their plates down and continued on to the coffee carafe, others, including myself, took a piece (or two) of the “salami” and accompanied it with large spoonfuls of whipped cream from a bowl big enough to feed an entire football team. When I sat down at my seat, I took my fork to the dessert and then proceeded to taste the rustic treat. Looking like one of Italy’s favorite products from the macelleria (butcher), it tasted like a great chocolate truffle studded with crushed biscotti cookies. Softer than a brownie, the salami combined chewiness and crunchiness in one chocolatey bite. Enjoyed with a dollop of whipped cream, what could be better? Just when I thought nothing could top the Villa’s tiramisù, I knew I found a new dessert contender.
Considering how scrumptious the chocolate “processed meat” tasted, I was excited to learn that it was a very simple thing to make. Requiring no baking and just a few basic pantry items (if you live in Italy, biscotti are certainly a pantry staple), chocolate salami can be created with very little effort. The only thing requiring effort would be waiting because though it takes less than five minutes to prepare, the salami must harden in the refrigerator for at least three hours before serving (chilling the chocolate log helps ensure that it stays its shape once sliced). But once the time has passed, you can reward yourself for your patience by cutting up a few slices of salami and enjoying one of Italy’s simplest desserts.
I was hoping to learn the Villa’s recipe for the salami from its cookbook, but unfortunately it was not among those included in the book’s dessert section. Fortunately for me, my host mother Flavia had her own “recipe” (I use quotations because we all know how little precision there seems to be in Italian cooking). Below is my adaptation of Flavia’s chocolate salami.
Flavia’s Chocolate Salami
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 3 biscotti cookies, crushed [add more to your liking]
- 7 tablespoons of sugar
- 5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
- Separate egg. Set egg yolk aside, and beat egg white until slightly stiff.
- Melt butter, and combine with sugar, cocoa powder, and crushed biscotti.
- Stir egg yolk into cookie mixture, then fold in the egg white.
- If too thick to stir, add a little water or chocolate liquor to loosen slightly.
- Place mixture on plastic wrap and shape into a compact log. The consistency should be like a thick paste.
- Roll in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least three hours or in the freezer for one hour to harden.
- When ready to serve, slice the log into thick circles and serve with a fresh dollop of whipped cream and hot espresso or coffee.
*Note: This dessert uses raw eggs, so to reduce the risk of Salmonella, it is best to use fresh eggs for this recipe.