I love it when I discover a house specialty. Although the majority of their pastries are delivered from Pekara, the unassuming Caffe Paradiso in lovely Urbana, IL makes their tiramisu fresh in-house daily.
Why is this so great? #1: it means that they’ve perfected their recipe. #2: it’s a one-off coffee shop creating its own random around-the-world menu (you’ll find macarons, danishes and bingsoo here too – how eclectic!), not an Italian restaurant that thinks tiramisu is a mandatory dessert option and therefore must be on the menu even if all the Nonnas are collectively rolling over in their graves – for shame! #3: it means that it isn’t sitting around getting stale and soppy and tasting like a cooler case.
In fact, some times it’s so fresh that it hasn’t even made it out and into the cooler case yet! So if you see an empty case and are about to leave muttering, “thanks for nothing, Paradiso,” do yourself a favor and ask if they have any in back. Because chances are they probably do.
The portions are HUGE. Each individual ingredient layer can be seen and tasted: from the generous dusting of cocoa powder on top, to the Intelligentsia espresso not overly-soaked lady fingers. It is on the dryer side – a rare occurrence in a world that sometimes mistakes tiramisu as some kind of Italian boozy pudding cousin – so it pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee.