The classic tiramisu and its elegant recipe has been widely appreciated by chefs. Turns out, the Italian dessert which is so popular across the world was made accidentally. In fact, the modern tiramisu we know now is quite similar to its original recipe. Let's explore its story.
The origin of tiramisu which is also known as Tuscan trifle, is often traced back to the Veneto region in Italy, particularly the city of Treviso, where this iconic dessert is believed to have been born in the latter half of the 20th century.
The Italian word "tiramisu" translates to "pick me up" or "cheer me up.” Despite its widespread popularity experts and historians have struggled to pinpoint the history of tiramisu or its origin period. One theory has attempted to trace the tiramisu’s origin to the 17th century when a similar dessert was created for The Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici III when he visited the northwest province of Tuscany.
However, the modern tiramisu as we know now was not made until the 1970s. One popular idea attributed the invention of tiramisu to the city of Treviso, located in the Veneto region of northern Italy. According to this theory, tiramisu was first crafted in the 1960s by a pastry chef named Roberto Linguanotto, who wanted to make a dessert that would imbibe people with a burst of energy and incorporate ingredients known for their revitalizing properties. However, the real story is more interesting.
Tiramisu was accidentally made in a restaurant called Le Beccherie in Italy. The original recipe was that of a custard-like dessert which evolved over the years to a layered cake design. Le Beccherie was a historic restaurant in Piazza Ancillotto, in the centre of Treviso. It was there that the dessert was created, in 1972, when a ‘Tiramesù’ appeared on the restaurant's dessert menu for the first time.
In 1955 when the restaurant’s owner Alba Campeol, was pregnant with her son Carlo, Alba's mother-in-law would make her a hearty breakfast with zabaglione and coffee to help her young daughter-in-law sustain energy throughout the day. When Alba returned to the kitchen of her restaurant, she decided to introduce a new dessert inspired by the breakfast prepared by her mum-in-law.
Along with the restaurant's pastry chef, Roberto Loli Linguanotto, Alba created the tiramisu sometime between 1971 and 1972. “The breakthrough came when, after countless attempts using cream, ricotta and other ingredients, Alba and Linguanotto decided to try fresh mascarpone. In that same year, Le Beccherie participated in the Milan Trade Fair (now the Expo), presenting a menu that ended with Tiramesù. On 15 October 2010 the recipe for Tiramesù de Le Beccherie was filed with a notarial deed with the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (Italian Academy of Cuisine),” reads Le Beccherie’s official website.
The original tiramisu was a light, airy layer cake made with ladyfingers dipped in coffee, mascarpone cheese, sugar, cocoa powder and egg yolks. Though the restaurant isn’t still operated by the Campeol family, who are credited with the invention of tiramisu, the original recipe is still supposedly served.