This Magical Tiramisu Machine Is Sparking Anarchy
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because when high-end technology meets haute cuisine, efficiency tastes good.
By Silvia Marchetti
Guess what comes out when engineering meets Italy’s pastry art?
Ta-da: Meesoo! It’s the first “espresso-tiramisu” cake machine, invented by Italian gourmet-scientist Iuri Merlini, who thought it was about time a dessert was served as fast as a coffee espresso. With Meesoo, the yummy treat oozes out of a metal tube right into the cup at the counter of a bar (savor and go, like a shot) — cold, fresh and soft.
Now, you all know — and surely have tasted — what tiramisu is: an ecstatic blend of layers of ladyfingers biscuits dipped one by one in a whipped mixture of mascarpone cream cheese and a fine mix of different coffee powders. The name pretty much means “lift me up and gimme a shake, please.” Its taste is so powerful that Italians say it raises the dead from their graves.
Merlini has killed that annoying moment at the end of dinner when you’re sitting in a restaurant, anxiously waiting for the final treat that never comes while you’d just like to pay the bill and go home, and the lazy waiter then serves tiramisu, usually too cold or about to melt. Today, you can have a cup of Merlini’s espresso dessert even for breakfast.
“This machine is monstrous.”
In the past, it helped boost sexual desire and keep gentlemen’s main attribute in its correct position. Italy’s iconic cold cake has turned into a worldwide delicacy, but the original recipe was born inside the brothels of a vibrant and lascivious town in the north, Treviso, where tiramisu was served to clients as a “shake me up” energizer potion after heavy sex sessions — to get them ready for the next round. The more tiramisu, the more flourishing the business. Then a clever restaurant exported it outside pleasure houses, somehow legalizing it. Across decades the dessert has always been made by the expert hands of pastry chefs and housewives: slowly, with passion and love.
Not by a robot!
So when eccentric Merlini, who never had a knack for straight engineering and numbers, came up with a machine that prepares tiramisu in just 30 seconds like a quick espresso, the sky opened and all the heavens fell to earth, as my granny would say. Mamma mia!
Pastry “purists” waged war against him: “How can you let a machine prepare our god, tiramisu?” they yelled out loud. Plus add whip cream to the original base recipe, thus contaminating it? It’s like committing a crime, breaking a sacred taboo, smoking while chewing bubble gum. Look at it in a topsy-turvy way: It’s like forcing an espresso-addicted Italian to drink American coffee that has been boiling for hours and is then poured into a mug (while our real espresso, made in two seconds, fills barely five millimeters of a small coffee cup).
The purists believe tiramisu must be prepared according to tradition, with slow, handmade methods, as it has been for ages, and not rapidly through the use of a machine. Local gastronomer Annibale Toffolo says, “Traditions can’t be wiped out like this. This machine is monstrous. Without the loving care and hands of a housewife or chef, forget eating the real tiramisu recipe.”
Merlini is flabbergasted: “Hey, dude, what the hell did I do wrong?” But Meesoo is having quite a success. “I’m not trying to steal the spotlight from purists and pastry chefs. All I’ve done is make the cream with high-quality ingredients, freeze it and send it to bars, where it is then revitalized by my machine that makes it as fresh as if it were made then and there,” says Merlini. It’s the best and fastest way to make demand meet supply, he adds.
And the bar where you can try it is right next door to the historical tavern that first served tiramisu to ordinary non-brothel clients. Oh, the irony.
- Silvia Marchetti, OZY Author Contact Silvia Marchetti