Samui Wining & Dining
Dessert Island
Sharing the secrets of Chef Luigi’s special panna cotta
at Chill @ Hip, Punnpreeda Hip Resort.


Dessert IslandOur dessert recipe this month is classically Italian. And while tiramisu may have been the dessert of choice in the 1980s for discerning Italian food aficionados, panna cotta took centre stage from the 1990s onwards. Long-time Samui resident and chef Luigi Fadda of Chill @ Hip restaurant at Punnpreeda Hip Resort, in Bang Rak, makes and sells multitudes of them and has his own recipe that he’s used all of his professional career. He was born and raised in the north of Italy where the dessert originates from and we’ve reproduced his recipe below.


In Italian, panna cotta translates as ‘cooked cream’ but care does need to be taken on the stove. It’s made by simmering cream, milk and sugar together and mixing in vanilla essence and gelatine. Whilst this dessert is found all across Italy it’s generally accepted that it comes from the Piedmont (Piemonte) region of northern Italy. The mountainous areas of the region are famous for their dairy produce and it’s believed that cream was historically sweetened with fruits and nuts and eaten as a snack. A number of books suggest that the modern interpretation of panna cotta was devised by a Hungarian lady in the Langhe part of the region. Whilst several other authors argue that it’s been around since the Middle Ages with gelatine extracted from fish bones used as the binding agent. No matter the origins, its light texture and fruity accompaniments make it a perfect dish to round off any meal.


Chef Luigi’s Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis


Ingredients for the panna cotta

1 ltr                  milk

1 ltr                  fresh cream

120 gms           refined sugar

9-14 gms         gelatine

A vanilla pod or a drop or two of vanilla essence.


Chef’s tip: You can experiment a little by adjusting the amount of sugar depending on how sweet you like it. And with the gelatine, 9 grams will give a very soft texture whilst 14 grams will have a firmer texture.



1) Soften the gelatine strips in a bowl of water and ice. You can also use gelatine granules, just follow the instructions.

2) Gently heat the milk, sugar, cream and vanilla essence together to dissolve the sugar. Be careful not to let the mixture come to the boil.

3) Stir the gelatine into the warm milk and cream mixture and then allow it to cool to room temperature.

4) Pour the mixture into individual ramekins, you can fill them to the top, and refrigerate until set, around four hours.


Ingredients for the strawberry coulis and garnish

120 gms           small juicy strawberries (about 12-16) 

75 gms             sugar 

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice 

Fresh mint in sprigs


Chef’s tip: You can use other types of berries when they’re in season, such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries or a soft tropical fruit like mango.


1) Wash and hull the berries and reserve a few for garnish (sliced).

2) Place the rest in a small saucepan with the sugar, a good squeeze of lemon juice and two tablespoons of water.

3) Cook until softened and then strain to leave the cooked fruit behind. Don’t be tempted to push the fruit through – you can save it and have it on buttered toast later - or your translucent coulis could turn cloudy and opaque.

4) Set it aside to cool down and then cover and chill in the refrigerator.



1) Loosen the panna cotta around the top with the tip of a thin bladed knife and turn out onto a flat plate. When placing it on the plate make sure it lands exactly where you want it to (usually in the centre) as it will be difficult to change its position once it’s on the plate.

2) Spoon some strawberry coulis around each panna cotta and garnish with the reserved sliced strawberries and sprigs of fresh mint.


Johnny Paterson


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