Tiramisù has never reached so high, as Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano is taking the dessert with him to the International Space Station along with other Italian dishes.
Made from Savoiardi (ladyfingers), coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone cheese flavoured with cocoa and Marsala wine, tiramisù means ‘pick me up’. Hopefully, the classic pudding will keep Parmitano’s spirits high while he is in orbit far from home.
Parmitano will venture into space in May for a six-month stay on the Space Station under an agreement with the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italian Space Agency) and NASA. He will be taking various samples of Italian home cooking with him, including lasagne, melanzane parmigiana (baked aubergines), pesto risotto and mushroom risotto.
Lucky fellow astronauts will share the Italian cuisine, which has been specially prepared by chefs, dehydrated and sealed in aluminium bags to keep it as fresh as possible. The food will be taken to the Space Station in April before Parmitano arrives there and, thanks to it being treated by a thermostabilising process, astronauts will heat up dishes using a small oven on board.
A captain in the Italian Air Force, Parmitano has been training in Russia and will co-pilot a Soyuz-TMA spacecraft to the orbital outpost. He is a member of the European Astronaut Corps unit, which forms part of the European Space Agency (ESA) that selects, trains and provides astronauts to crew American and Russian space missions.
It will be Parmitano’s first spaceflight and the fifth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut. His mission is named “Volare” (to fly).
Parmitano was born in Paternò in Catania, Sicily. The 36-year-old astronaut will spend his birthday on 27 September in space – no doubt somewhere among the raft of Italian goodies there will be something special to help him celebrate, perhaps someone can ensure that some Sicilian arancini (fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs) make their way on board.