Tiramisu is one of the most loved and well-known Italian desserts eaten with a spoon. It is the fifth most acknowledged Italian word amongst all Europeans, and this word appears in the vocabulary of as many as 23 different languages of the world!
Perhaps because of its simplicity or high nutritional food values, it is impossible, especially in the Italy region, to find an individual who has never tasted a spoonful. But this yummy dessert is also popular for and is characterized by a longstanding debate, as various Italian areas vie to be crowned its (‘Tiramisu’) birthplace. So let’s try to find out the origin of delicious tiramisu through its history.
Origin of Tiramisu
The word Tiramisù actually means “pick me up”. This dessert actually comes from the Treviso dialect, called “Tiramisu”, which is Italianised into Tiramisù in the late 20th century. Historical records suggests that this food dish comes from Treviso in the early 1800s. It is said that Tiramisu was actually invented by the one clever “maitresse” of a house of pleasure in centre of the city Treviso.
We can’t be absolutely sure of exactly when and where the dish tiramisu was invented, but its origins lie in the northern region of Italy, in the city of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia or the Piedmont. One story of this dessert can be found in ‘Giuseppe Maffioli’s’ recipe book Il ‘ghiottone Veneto’ (Venetian Glutton), published in late 1968.
According to the Maffioli, at the end of the wedding banquet, a couple of friends gave the groom a gift – a bottle of sweet wine called zabajon, supposed to guarantee “a successful & prolonged honeymoon period”.
Very cold fresh whipped cream was included to the wine, which was then served with the thin Venetian cookies known as baicoli. This combination of food ingredients, along with the energetic qualities of sabayon/zabaglione & the name of the dessert tiramisù, shows that this could have been the birth of this amazing dessert.
A Tiramisu story told by some people is when the “Siora” who ran the premises developed this amazing sweet dessert to offer to their customers at the end of the evening to reinvigorate them & solve the issues they may have had with their conjugal responsibilities on their return to their wives.
Another story of the dessert Tiramisu is that: In the centre of the region Treviso, an old and well-known inn of the period, which is actually the modern-day Le Beccherie restaurant added this mysterious dessert to its menu.
Some certain aspects passed down orally are major proof of the Veneto & Treviso origins of this sweet and tasty dessert. The recipe actually comes from the “shabudin”, which is a mix of egg yolk beaten with sugar & often used by Treviso farmers as a restorative for the newly-weds.
Different Versions of Tiramisu
The original recipe for the dessert tiramisu involves the use of few food ingredients: such as egg yolks and sugar mixed together, with the inclusion of mascarpone & a drop of old Marsala wine, giving us the classic fresh tiramisu cream, which should be broken up by cookies soaked in the sweet coffee to make the finished Tiramisu dessert.
But the quintessential classic recipe of this dessert lends itself to many varieties of Tiramisu, both when it comes to adding food ingredients & presentation.