Although panna cotta is not mentioned in Italian cookbooks before 1960, it is often regarded as a traditional Italian dessert of the Piedmont region. According to one story the dessert was invented by a Hungarian woman who lived in Italy at the beginning of the 20th Century. Piedmont includes panna cotta in its 2001 list of traditional food products of the region.
How do we make panna cotta? Cream is warmed with gelatine and other ingredients - vanilla, fruit mousse, rum and coffee. This explains the name of the dessert - panna cotta means "cooked cream". The mixture is poured into moulds and left to set at cool temperatures. Before serving, the dessert is decorated with fruit, chocolate, caramel... and voilà!