Natural Machines 3D prints the world’s best tiramisu

Natural Machines, a Spain-based developer of food 3D printing technology, has printed a replica of the world’s best tiramisu.

The heart-shaped dessert took first place at last year’s Tiramisù World Cup (TWC), and has now been faithfully recreated using the firm’s proprietary Foodini additive manufacturing system. Working closely with Stefano Serafini, the Italian pastry chef who won the competition, Natural Machines claims the 3D printed version accurately emulates the look, feel, and taste of its ‘traditionally manufactured’ predecessor.

Supported by the European Union, the novel project took place in Treviso, Italy, and was commenced when Natural Machines pitched it to the TWC organizers last year.

Emilio Sepulveda, co-founder and CEO of Natural Machines, says, “The main objective is the promotion of tiramisu within the competition environment and Italian gastronomy, as well as giving it a greater reach via 3D printing.”

TWC organizers and Chef Serafini (right) with the 3D printed tiramisu. Photo via Natural Machines.
TWC organizers and Chef Serafini (right) with the 3D printed tiramisu. Photo via Natural Machines.

The Foodini 3D printer

Undoubtedly the magnum opus of Natural Machines’ product naming department, the Foodini 3D printer is an extrusion-based system designed to work with virtually any type of real, fresh ingredient. The printer was built to be a kitchen appliance and is priced at $6,000.

To use the machine, customers simply prepare the food fillings they want, load the mixtures into reusable steel capsules, and extrude these mixtures out of a nozzle to print the final product layer by layer. The 3D printer has space for up to five capsules at once, which it can automatically switch between as needed.

The Foodini can print directly onto any flat surface that fits inside its 257mm (diameter) x 110mm build volume and is suitable for main dishes, side dishes, garnishes, custom cake icings, and more. Since the system uses real ingredients, creations can be served straight out of the build chamber, baked in an oven, frozen, and even dehydrated.

Additionally, the system also allows for custom printing recipes to be saved on the Foodini Creator app, meaning users can re-print their creations over and over.

Sepulveda, referring to the printer as a miniature food factory, said, “Our machine does not alter the taste or quality of the ingredients that you put and you don’t need those ingredients to be special for the machine.”

The Foodini 3D printer. Photo via Natural Machines.
The Foodini 3D printer. Photo via Natural Machines.

3D printing a world-class dessert

Owing to the use of a new production method, Natural Machines and Chef Serafini had to conduct a number of experiments to make the 3D printed tiramisu replica a reality. They tried and tested several different recipes, each with its own mixtures and textures.

Eventually, the team settled on a special 3D printable recipe developed by the chef himself, including a newly-devised cream, recreating the award-winning tiramisu in all its glory.

Francesco Redi, Founder of the Tiramisù World Cup, believes 3D printing has a unique place in the culinary world: “It means that you can make a recipe from any place on the earth.”

Although it may be very niche, the world of food 3D printing is an active sector within the additive manufacturing sphere. Recently, Israeli food technology firm MeaTech announced the latest milestone in its quest to develop sustainable, cultured meat products using 3D bioprinting technology. Using its own in-house process, the company successfully 3D bioprinted a 3.67 oz (104 gram) cultivated steak at its lab in Ness Ziona, Israel.

Elsewhere, Japanese precision instrument manufacturer Shimadzu recently announced plans to create a dedicated meat 3D printing system. Working with Osaka University and consultancy firm Sigmaxyz Inc, the firm is reportedly developing a machine capable of churning out large quantities of cultured meat, much like an automated production line.

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Featured image shows the 3D printed tiramisu. Photo via Natural Machines.