When a friend first told me about Giovanni’s Tiramisu, I immediately thought to myself, “There’s no possible way this can be real.”
After all, the backstory - a 72-year-old Italian chef drives around LA hand-delivering homemade tiramisu to doorsteps - sounds more like an on-the-nose Hallmark movie pitch than an actual business. But then I checked out their website, in part to place an order, but also to find out if my friend was pulling a fast one on me, and read about Giovanni Bolla’s life story - how he emigrated from Italy in the 1970s, spent decades cooking for Hollywood’s elite, but ultimately fell on hard times after a series of personal tragedies derailed his career (he was even homeless for a period of time). This delivery service isn’t just a personal hobby for him - it’s a completely new lease on life.
Read our Q&A with Giovanni Bolla, “LA’s Tiramisu Man.”
Upon filling out your order request form, you’ll quickly receive a text from Giovanni himself asking what time is best to swing by your place (as the adorable disclaimer on the website reads, he does all the communication himself). Things move quickly from there - chef runs a tight ship - and before you know it (it was less than 24 hours for me), you’ll have an impossibly charming Italian man waiting outside your house with a tin full of tiramisu.
photo credit: Giovanni Bolla
And let’s talk about that tiramisu - it’s remarkable. In fact, it’s probably the best I’ve ever had in my life (and certainly in LA). One of the most important elements of a great tiramisu (besides the mascarpone and a not-too-soggy biscuit) is its serving temperature. It needs to be cold, but not frozen, and anything nearing room temperature is a borderline travesty. This is no easy task for any delivery service, but Giovanni knocks it out of the ballpark. Combine that with the sweet tanginess of the mascarpone, plus the bitter cocoa and strong punch of boozy coffee, and there isn’t another dessert I’d rather have luring me to the refrigerator for a week (the $30 half-tray will easily last you that long).
Even if the tiramisu here was only OK, I’d still be telling every single person I know to order from Giovanni’s. Stories and businesses like this simply don’t come around very often anymore, and in a time filled with so much endless tragedy, it’s important to remember that feel-good moments aren’t just for Hallmark movies - they’re for us, too.
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Giovanni has spent more than 45 years perfecting his tiramisu recipe, and you can tell. Unlike daintier versions you’ll find in many Italian restaurants around town, Giovanni’s is big, messy, and almost cake-like. But despite its heftiness, the flavors and textures balance out perfectly. The smooth tanginess of the mascarpone, the boozy, coffee-soaked biscuit, and the bitter cocoa on top - it all comes together to create a version that’s ruined all others I’ve found in Los Angeles. Tip: The $30 half-tray is enough for a week.