Italian food science writer Dario B. writes in from the Continent, to comment on the topics from the last two weeks:
I read your blog from Italy (too bad we cannot comment the various posts). I want to confirm that here in italy “biscotti” are what you in the US call cookies (well, sort of, since when I lived in the US I was
disappointed to find a very very small selection of flavors with respect to what we find here in Italy, with hundreds of different “biscotti”).
What you showed are what we called “cantucci”, and you usually eat them by dipping them in some liquorous wine like “vin santo” from Tuscany.
Regarding Panna Cotta, a typical dessert from Piemonte, in Northern Italy, now everybody prepares it with gelatin (and you don’t really “cook” [it] anymore), but in ancient times, before gelatine was available for desserts, the gelification was provided by egg albumen, which is the more traditional way to do it (and some claim the best way), and you had to “cook” it in the oven. The texture is different.
So there you go, a little validation from a man in a position to know. Just so you don’t go thinking I’m completely full of it.