The origin of tiramisu, the most famous Italian dessert in the world
Tiramisu is one of the most well-known and popular Italian desserts eaten with a spoon in the world: “tiramisu” is the fifth most recognised Italian word amongst Europeans, and appears in the vocabulary of as many as 23 different languages! Perhaps due to its simplicity or high nutritional values, it’s almost impossible, especially in Italy, to find someone who has never tasted a spoonful. But this dessert is also famous for and characterised by a longstanding debate, as different Italian regions vie to be crowned its birthplace. So let’s try to trace the origin of tiramisu through its history.
The history of tiramisu
There are many legends around the history of tiramisu. The first has Tuscany in the lead role, and says that tiramisu was invented in Siena during a visit by the Grand Duke Cosimo III de Medici: at that time the dessert was called “zuppa del duca” (the Duke’s soup). Next we’re off to Piedmont, or more precisely Turin, where it is said that this dessert was invented for Camillo Benso, the count of Cavour, and then arrived in Emilia-Romagna via Forlì writer Pellegrino Artusi, who describes a similar recipe in his book “Kitchen science and the art of eating well”, published in 1891, although the mascarpone is replaced by butter.
However, these attempted claims were not considered credible or truthful, and the real dispute arose between the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the areas of Treviso and Udine respectively. Treviso places the source of tiramisu, initially called “Tiremesù”, at the end of the 1960s at the restaurant “Le Beccherie”, from an idea by pastry chef Loly Linguanotto to rework a typical Venetian dessert, the Sbatudin, a mixture of egg yolks whipped with sugar.
Friuli Venezia Giulia, on the other hand, posits that the “Tirimisù” appeared at hotel-restaurant Roma in Tolmezzo (Udine) during the 1950s, and it is this latter story that has the upper hand. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Resources has actually assigned the paternity of tiramisu to Friuli, adding the dessert to the Friulian list of PAT – Traditional Agrifood Products. But Veneto hasn’t thrown in the towel yet!
Tiramisu, from original recipe to different versions
The original recipe for tiramisu involves the use of few ingredients: egg yolks and sugar combined together, with the addition of mascarpone and a drop of Marsala wine, giving us the classic tiramisu cream, which must be broken up by biscuits soaked in coffee to create the finished dessert. But the quintessential classic recipe lends itself to many variations, both when it comes to ingredients and presentation: RivaReno’s laboratories offer it in the form of gelato and semifreddo! Two great tributes to the king of Italian desserts, both made by alternating layers of creamy coffee mascarpone with soft layers of sponge cake and espresso coffee: two tasty and delicious versions that lift your spirits with every spoonful!