Italy: Amore and Persimmons

I just got back from the most romantic trip to Italy. No, really. I helped celebrate an anniversary, two weddings, and a surprise engagement.

Above, I’m strewing olive leaves before my friend Heather walks down the aisle to meet her sweetheart, Jonny, and have this sparkling ring slipped onto her finger. The 13th-century castle where the wedding took place is now a 5-star hotel, and the staff were kind enough to let me pitter-pat down the gravel driveway in my high heels and pluck a few leaves each from the olive trees that go all the way down to the bottom of the hill on which the castle is perched.

The wedding was beautiful, and we danced until the wee hours to mark the occasion.

A key part of all of the celebrating, of course, was the food. Hors d’Oeuvres, dinners, and desserts were sumptuous. But one of my most memorable food moments came at breakfast, the morning after the wedding, when I came across persimmons at the buffet table.

Persimmons, known as cachi (pronounced kah-ki) in Italy, are a popular fruit that can be found everywhere at this time of year. Unlike in the States, where persimmons are still unfamiliar to most people, in Italy they can be found at corner produce stands and high-end restaurants.

I went back for a few of these ripe, glowing orbs. If you look closely, you can see that they’re speckled on the inside, a trait I’m unfamiliar with, but they were just as sweet and velvety as the ones I’ve had.

In The New Persian Kitchen, I have a recipe for a no-bake persimmon cheesecake made with goat cheese and topped with nothing but blended ripe persimmons. The flavor of this fruit is so good that I didn’t want to disguise it by baking it in a cake, or some other preparation where its character would be lost. I’m really excited to share this recipe with you when the book comes out.

I have less than two months to finish the editing process, as the book must fly off to the printer in mid-November in order to be printed in time for April. I’m so grateful for my week away in the wonderland of Italy, now it’s back to my writing desk for the final push!

Photo of me by Mark Daniels

6 thoughts on “Italy: Amore and Persimmons

  1. I am most familiar with persimmons. I can’t wait until they come into season and are ripe enough for baking. I have a 100 year old recipe for a persimmon cake that never fails to emphasize that Autumn is officially here. I must also try your cheesecake sometime. It sounds delicious.

    1. Hi Stephan,

      You sound just as passionate about persimmons as I am. Wow, a 100-year-old cake recipe, that sounds wonderful. I’m intrigued. I’d love to see an image – or the recipe if it’s not top-secret – next time you make it!

  2. Hi! My favorite fruit of this fruit. We call it the Apple of paradise in Turkish! I love the picture of the olive tree!!!

    1. Hi Rahime,

      Apple of paradise is such a beautiful and evocative name! I wonder if it’s called that in Persian, as well. I loved how there were so many olive trees in Italy, this one was at our hotel outside of Florence.

  3. Hi Louisa, I came here via 101 cookbooks and I find yuor blog really interesting.
    I love Cachi too and here in Italy we eat them aboundantely during fall time.
    There are plenty of trees everywhere!
    They are so good there’s no need to cook them… so I am looking forward to try your cheesecake…sounds delicious!

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