I could eat you with a spoon

That affectionate phrase has always enchanted me, partly because I’ve never heard it lavished upon me personally. It implies some essential, personal deliciousness, innate sweetness, utter adorability; who wouldn’t want to be spoon-edible? (If you’re the person who rather aspires to be picked up and chomped on, sparerib-style, I might have something for you next week.)

Moreover, the things we want to eat with a spoon are soft, tender, yielding, or a little elusive–things we don’t want to miss a drop of, morsels deserving of the gentle utensil’s caress.

I began contemplating this, with the help of some Lambrusco, when a panna cotta arrived at my table last Thursday night at the Hostaria Savonarola in Ferrara. It occurred to me about halfway through this divine Piedmontese dessert of, literally, “cooked cream” that it was texturally rich but only subtly sweet, and that the pool of dark caramel on the plate had an earthy nuttiness about it and a faint, pleasant bitterness in the finish.

I could suddenly relate.