origins of tiramisu

Story, ingredients and origins of Tiramisu, the most famous Italian dessert in the world

Tiramisu has uncertain origins disputed from various Italian regions. There are countless variations on the theme to make it at home and made by starred chefs in Italy and abroad. It’s undoubtedly one of the desserts that represent better the Italian pastry tradition and it is produced from North to South Italy. Its fame is such that its name is in the common vocabulary of 23 different languages. In this post, I’ll tell you a few interesting anecdotes about the ingredients, variations, story, and origins of tiramisu.


origins of tiramisu: where it was born and who invented it,

the recipe from Emilia Romagna: the Dolce Torino,

tiramisu, origins due to Camillo Benso,

the Siena recipe: the Duke’s soup,

tiramisu original recipe.

Origins of tiramisu: where it was born and who invented it

Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto are the two Italian regions that compete for the authorship of this Italian dessert. As for Veneto, it seems that the invention of the original recipe, in particular, took place in Treviso at the end of the 1960s. Some recently published research texts say that the pastry chef Roberto “Loly” Linguanotto created it while working at the Alle Beccherie restaurant. The name comes from the Venetian dialect “tiramesù” referring to the high caloric intake and the exceptional nutritional properties of the dessert.

The Friulian origins of tiramisu

the ingredients used at the origins of tiramisu

In the municipality of Tolmezzo in the province of Udine, they say that the dessert was created for the first time in the restaurant of Hotel Roma, where the Dolce Torino of the pilgrim Artusi was served. The recipe for this dessert included egg yolks, ladyfingers, milk, butter, and chocolate. Ms. Pielli who ran the hotel, in 1951 thought of replacing the mascarpone with butter and dipping the ladyfingers in bitter coffee.

In the municipality of Pieris di San Canzian d’Isonzo in the province of Gorizia, however, Mario Consolo created in the 1940s the Vetturino based on chocolate and zabaglione, which he later called “tiremesu” at the suggestion of a customer.

The recipe from Emilia Romagna: the Dolce Torino

Many argue that this well-known dessert typical of our culinary tradition was born in Emilia Romagna. This theory is due to the testimony Pellegrino Artusi, to which we mentioned earlier about Mrs. Pielli, a gastronomist and literary critic coming from Forlì. The writer mentioned the recipe in his book “Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well” of 1891. The dessert described, however, had another name and in the preparation, there was butter and not mascarpone.

Tiramisù, origins due to Camillo Benso

Camillo Benso Count of Cavour
Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour

There’s a theory on the origins of this dessert in Piedmont. A pastry chef from Turin maybe invented it for Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour. The recipe was created to give him support when he carried out his political activity to unify the Italian nation. In the mid-1800s, however, the methods used to produce and preserve food could not have guaranteed the edibility of this kind of dessert.

The Siena recipe: the Duke’s soup

In Tuscany, in Siena town, is set one of the legends about the invention of the dessert. Here a dessert called Zuppa del Duca has been produced since between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It seems to have many elements in common with tiramisu.

This dessert was created during a visit by Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici and should be inspired to the personality of the Grand Duke: a dessert with a strong taste and simple ingredients. Anyway, the ladyfingers and mascarpone were not widely used in the typical pastry of Siena. Mascarpone comes from Lombardy and could hardly be stored and transported quickly to Tuscany. So this story probably isn’t true.

Tiramisu original recipe

Tiramisu cake

Fortunately, tiramisu is one of the easiest desserts to prepare because it does not require dough and cooking. The ingredients are:

• egg yolk,

• mascarpone cheese,

• ladyfingers dipped in sweetened coffee,

• bitter cocoa.

One of the few things that may require some practice in preparation is to count the exact time (in terms of seconds) of the “immersion” of the ladyfingers in the coffee. You’ll understand with experience how long it takes to wet them correctly.

Candy Valentino

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