Although crema is also used to indicate the milk fat, panna is more common.
Panna derives from panno, meaning cloth, as a reference to the fact that cream forms a layer on the surface of milk left to settle, and therefore it covers it like a cloth.
Whipping cream gives you panna montata, but cream is also used in savory dishes. And then there is the famous panna cotta (a bit overrated, if you ask me).
In grocery stores you will see different kinds of cream:
- panna fresca, 38% fat, pasteurized and therefore with a short shelf-life
- panna da montare UHT, for whipping, 38% fat, treated at ultra-high temperature and therefore with a longer shelf-life
- panna da cucina UHT, with a lower fat content (24%) and a more homogeneous texture, used as an ingredients of, for example, pasta sauces.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the panna audio file [mp3].
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