pànera

Pànera: the delicious coffee parfait of the Genoese

We are accustomed, in ice cream shops in Genoa, to always find, next to the traditional flavors, “Pànera” semifreddo. Perhaps not everyone knows, however, that this is a typically Genoese specialty that is difficult to find in other Italian regions.

Let’s get a couple of doubts out of the way right away. Pànera is not an ice cream but a semifreddo, and it is not the classic coffee ice cream.

It can be found in Genoese ice cream parlors in numerous variations, but it seems that the original is very simple. In fact, the traditional preparation calls for an amalgamation of fresh cream, Arabica coffee powder, sugar and beaten egg yolks to be brought to a boil in a bain-marie.

History of the Pànera and origin of the name

It was born in Genoa around the mid-1800s, when all of Europe was discovering the enveloping and addictive creaminess of ice cream. Genoa, as well as Naples and Trieste, is among the main ports in Europe for landing coffee, which is slowly conquering the palate of Italians.

The creation of the Pànera is shrouded in mystery. Some say that the recipe was first conceived by master pastry chef Amedeo di Boccadasse ice cream shop, while the Genoese confectionery industry Preti claims that it was its genius founder Giovanni Preti, when the company was still just a renowned pastry-ice cream shop in the city center, who invented the pànera semifreddo.”

Another version of the legend instead features an anonymous store boy who carelessly poured coffee into a cup of whipped cream.

“Cöse t äe combinou? t äe faeto a panna neigra!” the master ice cream maker said reproachfully, in Genoese dialect, to his helper.

Except to discover, a moment later, that the taste of that strange “black cream” was actually delicious.

Hence also the name–Pànera, in fact, is short for Black Cream as the compound generated by this anonymous pastry helper.

As with all recipes that become traditional dishes, we will never know the truth! But we ultimately only care about enjoying it!

Ingredients and preparation of Pànera

The ingredients are simple. We would use fresh whipping cream, ground coffee (alternatively, Pànera can also be made by previously preparing two cups of coffee) and sugar.

It is prepared by pouring the cream into the saucepan and adding the coffee powder. Bring to a boil, and when it starts to boil, add the sugar and melt it while stirring.

You remove from the heat and wait until the coffee powder has settled to the bottom of the pot and strain it with a cloth.

When the mixture is cold you should pour it into the ice cream maker and proceed as usual to make ice cream.

Once ready, pour the mixture into a sorbet bowl and let it cool to make a semifreddo with a creamy texture.

The result is a light, frothy, creamy texture. On the palate, the predominant sensation must be the softness of the cream. This is why Pànera is more than just coffee ice cream: it is a soft, mouthwatering cloud flavored with cappuccino.

Although the traditional recipe calls for the exclusive use of coffee, there are some variations of Pànera. Some add a touch of liquor, such as rum or whiskey, to give an alcoholic note that goes well with coffee. Others may enrich the dessert with spices such as cinnamon or vanilla for a more complex flavor.

Where to stay

Just under a kilometer from the city center and a hundred meters from Brignole train station, Urban Flora is the perfect place for you to fully enjoy when we have described.

With us you will experience a Scandinavian-modern look, where fresh and pleasant plants will make you enjoy as much relaxation as possible and for an unforgettable vacation. All rooms provide a private bathroom, smart TV and free Wi-Fi that will make you feel right at home.

Book your room now or contact us to ask for more information.

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Pànera: the delicious coffee parfait of the Genoese

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