Mascarpone is technically not a cheese, but a rich cream thickened by lactic fermentation, as though it were an Italian version of France's crème fraîche, or a smoother, milder take on Britain's clotted cream. Mascarpone is the proper cream cheese for tiramisu, and is terrific for cheesecakes.

It can be used like cream in savoury cooking, for example to enrich a pasta sauce or risotto, or simply spooned from the tub to serve alongside fresh fruit and dessets.