A Tiramisu Balloon for Valentine’s Day

A Recipe and Art Exhibition Dedicated to “Amore”

The balloon might seem like an ephemeral and fleeting object, but it is only on the surface. Its role is far more important. Call it a timeless icon and an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Even the balloon in this balloon is not what it seems. In it hides the most famous of desserts: tiramisu.

The dessert defined as love, perhaps because of that bizarre story that was born in a closed house in Treviso. It served as a tonic for exhausted customers. Or simply because just tasting it guaranteed a good mood. It calls to mind the family warmth of our childhood when mothers and grandmothers prepared cups full of that creamy dessert with energizing power for us.

Tiramisu lifts the soul!

Tiramisu Balloon - dessert shaped like a balloon on a white plate
Tiramisu Balloon – a dessert work of art based on a beloved classic. | © Lorenzo Diamantini

The etymology of the word leaves no doubt. However, tiramisu refers to its ability to lift the soul. An ability also inherent in our balloon that evokes emotions of joy, passion, and emotional connection. A symbol of lightness, joy, and freedom. For this reason, it belongs to the world of the little ones. And for this same reason, the balloon is the most suitable casket for this sweet tribute of family love.

The idea obviously comes from the period when Valentine’s Day is celebrated. It’s the journey into the meanders of feelings and the homeland of the Saint of Love, Terni. We are in Umbria, in a city dressed up for the occasion. There is the village of love in Piazza Europa, the projections on the historic buildings and the historical re-enactments of the martyrdom of the saint that testify and tell the new generations the story of St. Valentine. He gave all of himself, including his own life, for others.

An Art Exhibition at Palazzo Montani Leoni

Tiziano Vecellio (bottega di), Venere e Adone, metà del XVI secolo, olio su tela
172,5 x 207,5 cm, Terni | Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di  Terni e Narni, Collezione d’Arte

Furthermore, there is currently an exhibition at Palazzo Montani Leoni that pays homage to the patron saint of the city and protector of lovers. Here the inspiration is fulfilled, finding a compelling story that collects the most famous and exciting iconographies dedicated to the feeling that has most inspired artists over the centuries. Each has their own unique and personal perspective on love, which influences their representation of feelings.

From the purest love, like that of a mother for her child, to the seductive love. The latter which for centuries, Venus and Cupid have seduced and condemned the hearts of men and women. Then to the most problematic and ambiguous relationships described by twentieth-century artists.

Love Yourself: Love in Art from Titian to Banksy

Antonio Canova, Venere con amore in fasce, 1798, olio su tela, 73 x 85 cm, inv. 44
Possagno | Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova

This journey full of stories and emotions is titled, “LOVE YOURSELF — Love in Art from Titian to Banksy”. The latter closes the exhibition with the controversial image of a little girl who sees a heart-shaped balloon escape. It’s an image capable of shaking the deepest souls with delicate nuances of poetry and simplicity. The work describes a moment of pure solitude, innocence, and hope.

This vision ignited in me a dualism of joy and sadness and a deep reflection on the meaning of the work and above all on love. I saw in that balloon that flies away, the true capacity to love, which is the same in knowing how to let go. We are often accustomed to clinging to love and, instead of holding it, we pull it down into the abyss. We cling because we are afraid, but fears are basically only manifestations of the familiar things of the past. So, if we are afraid to love, perhaps we are still too much like children. Those children who cannot detach themselves from their mother because only, in this way, do they feel safe.

Free to Fly!

Banksy, Girl with balloon, 2015, stencil spray su cartone, 30 x 21,5 cm, Terni
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Terni e Narni, Collezione d’Arte

Maybe you have to know how to leave in order to be truly free. You have to have courage and let love not to be held back by a thin thread. Feel free to fly, explore the sky, and when tired, give in — deflated, exhausted, happy, in the hands of your love.


For the tiramisu:

  • Sponge cake 300 gr
  • Caster sugar 100 gr
  • Mascarpone 300 gr
  • Cream 300 gr
  • Icing sugar 80 gr
  • Isinglass 3 sheets
  • Espresso coffee 300 ml

For the mirror glaze:

  • Water 50 gr
  • Sugar 105 gr
  • Glucose in syrup 105 gr
  • Condensed milk 70 gr
  • White chocolate 105 g
  • Isinglass 6 gr
  • Red food coloring to taste


Prepare the cream: soak the isinglass in cold water for a few minutes. Then dissolve in the same water

  • Whip the cream with a whisk and, when it is well whipped, add the icing sugar and mascarpone
  • Whip until you get a firm cream
  • At this point, drizzle the melted and lukewarm gelatine and whip for a few more moments
  • Place in a piping bag and leave to cool for 2 hours in the refrigerator
  • Now cut the pan di spana into squares,
  • Soak in coffee and set aside
  • Fill the mould with the mascarpone mousse, add two pieces of sponge cake alternating with the cream and freeze
  • Soak the fish gelatin in a dish with cold water. Put the sugar, glucose and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and continue cooking until it reaches 103°C
  • Add the well-squeezed isinglass and stir to dissolve
  • Then add the condensed milk and stir
  • Pour in the mixture, add the food coloring and mix well with the white chocolate and melt
  • Add the food coloring and mix well
  • When the glaze has reached a temperature of 40°C, place the frozen tiramisu balloons on a wire rack. Place the wire rack on a plate wider than the cake and pour the frosting on top

See the Exhibition!

Love in Art from Titian to Banksy

Through 7 April 2024

The exhibition AMARSI. Love in Art from Titian to Banksy, curated by Costantino D’Orazio, with the co-curation and direction of Anna Ciccarelli and with the collaboration of Federica Zalabra, already recorded an extraordinary success with the public in the first month of opening, with more than 10,000 visitors and over 300 catalogs sold. What is also striking is the varied origin of the visitors, from North to South Italy, from Treviso to Reggio Calabria, with numerous international presences from Europe to South America.

Fondazione Carit – Cassa di Risparmio di Terni e Narni
Palazzo Montani Leoni, Terni
Corso Tacito, 49
Info: 0744421330

Lorenzo Diamantini

Food and Wine Editor

Lorenzo Diamantini was born in 1987 in Gubbio, a wonderful medieval Umbrian city in central Italy. He has been an electrician for 15 years and at the same time, cultivates countless passions for art, photography, reading and writing — in particular poetry which is his own peculiarity. Lorenzo is the author of several poems and he devotes much of his free time to his writings. As a former footballer, Lorenzo is also a fitness lover, a full-time athlete, and devotes 6 days to training per week. Care for the body and food brings him closer to the world of cooking which becomes a large part of his creative expression and good taste. This somewhat stimulating hobby matures hand in hand with his love for wine and craft beer that embellish the recipes with refined combinations. Numerous publications of his dishes on his social media platforms attract great interest/ Today, Lorenzo is a food blogger in evolution and is more and more appreciated on the net. Follow @lorenzodiamantini on Instagram.

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