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Back in August 2013 I did a big comparison of different fondants to decide which I liked the best. Sadly there was no clear winner. The ones that tasted the best were the most difficult to work with, and the ones easy to work with didn't taste so hot. I was so disappointed that I didn't have a "goto" fondant, that I when a new fondant from Italy hit the US market I jumped at the chance to give it a try. This new, ready-to-use fondant is called Via Roma Bakery White Roll Fondant. Ta-da....
Taste ---- Face it -- No fondant taste great, but some are more palatable than others. This Via Roma Bakery tasted okay, but it did have a somewhat rubbery feel in my mouth. It had a pronounced marshmallow flavor that was both mild and agreeable. It didn't taste as good as brands like Pettinice or Choco-Pan, but it tasted much better (IMHO) than some of the other brands like Wilton, Fondx Elite, Fondarific, or Satin Ice.
Texture ---- When you knead the Via Roma it feels very dry in your hands. It is not sticky or tacky at all. It is very soft and does not need to be microwaved or heated to loosen it up. It is amazingly easy to work with.
Rolling ---- It rolled very easily, and I did not need any powdered sugar or corn starch to keep it from sticking to the mat. In fact the Via Roma did not stick at all. No matter how thin I rolled it, it easily lifted from the mat without any sticking, pulling or tearing. The rolled fondant was also very elastic so the edges of the fondant didn't crack as I rolled it out.
Coverage ---- In my fondant comparison I used the same amount of fondant (5 ounces) rolled to the same thickness (1/8") to see how far each brand would spread. At 11+ inches round, this Via Roma fondant was one of the best performers (tied with Fondarific). The worst performers, at 9" round, were Duff & Satin Ice. I was also able to roll the Via Roma to 1/16" which gave me a 13" circle of fondant. (The box says that you can roll the fondant to 1/24", but my rolling pin doesn't have spacers that thin.) So with just 5 ounces of Via Roma fondant you can cover an 8" cake! That is pretty amazing.
Fondant rolled to 1/8"...
Fondant rolled to 1/16". You can see through the fondant it is so thin.
Draping/Smoothing ---- Because the Via Roma is so soft and elastic it created a lot of folds and drapes when placed on top of the cake. But the folds were very easy to smooth away with a little bit of work. The stretchy, elastic nature of the fondant also made it easy to buff away imperfections. As the Via Roma dried I did notice a bit of “elephant skin” texture forming (Satin Ice does this a lot), but when I smoothed it with my warm hands the skinning went away. Also no air bubbles formed. Yea!
Cutting/Trimming ---- The fondant cuts very cleanly; no ragged edges like you can get with other fondants (Duff).
Drying Time ---- The Via Roma fondant has a slow drying time. I was able to re-roll, position, and smooth the fondant three times without noticing any stiffness or cracking in the fondant. Some fondants I tested would start to dry out while as soon as you start rolling (Wilton). If you need a fondant that never dries out try Fondarific -- this stuff will stay soft for years!
Final Look --- Perfection. I have to say that I was really impressed with the final look of this fondant. The elastic nature of the fondant kept it from drooping into the nooks and crannies of the cake. The fondant almost seemed to float on top of the cake which helped to mask all the imperfections beneath it. Out of all the fondants I’ve tested, I think the Via Roma looks the best. (Followed closely by Elite and Wilton.)
So all-in-all this Via Roma is a great fondant. It is easy to knead, roll, drape, and smooth. The elastic nature of the fondant gives the finished cake a look that is as smooth as glass, and hides most of the cake's little imperfections. The fondant stays soft enough for repeated rollings (important in case you mess up and have to start over), and even when it dries it is still easy to cut. It doesn't taste as good as Pettinice or Choco-Pan, but it is still pretty tasty.
So after all this time I think I have found my "goto" fondant: Via Roma Bakery!
Note: some additional fondant comparisons/reviews are for Cake Craft Fondant and Carma Massa Ticcino .
Note2: I haven't been pleased with my last two purchases of Via Roma Fondant (there were a little dry and I got the dreaded "elephant skin" texture on my cake), so I'm again on the hunt for the perfect fondant.