Origins of Tiramisu

The Origins Of Tiramisù

Tiramisù is the 5th most known Italian word abroad. The word literally means pick me up, as in give me energy, bring back my strength. It derives from the Trevigiano dialect, originally spelled “Tireme sù”, and later on Italianized as Tiramisù.

Tiramisù was born in the town of Treviso around the mid-1800s.

It used to be a tradition of the common folk to prepare the “Sbatudin”, what’s known as the basis for the famous cream from the Tiramisù. It was made of egg yolks and sugar and beat until foamy.

Every family used to make it, and add a little bit of character to it, such as:

  • Coffee
  • White wine
  • Butter
  • Ricotta
  • Whipped cream
  • Liquor

As Pellegrino Artusi, a famous Italian gastronomy writer, wrote in his book titled “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well”.

This book is one of the most important historical pieces in gastronomy. He went on to analyze the origins and the evolution of Tiramisù. As he continued his research, he observed that the families kept adding and mixing ingredients until they finally set in stone the tradition of Tiramisù with 6 ingredients:

  1. Cacao powder
  2. Coffee
  3. Mascarpone
  4. Lady Fingers biscuits
  5. Egg yolks
  6. Sugar
Lady fingers and Coffee
Lady fingers and Coffee

The legend narrates that this delightful dish was invented by a “Maitresse” (Landlady) of a pleasure house. She supposedly created this desert with the intent to reinvigorate the men, tired from pleasure, that needed to get back home and deal with family matters.

The desert was basically an early 1800s natural Viagra. However, not long since its inception, the dish was adopted by a local inn, now known as “Le Beccherie”. They inserted the Tiramisù into their desert list because it was relatively easy to prepare, and for the same reason it skyrocketed in popularity across Italy.

The real story of how the Tiramisù was invented had been buried and erased from history books because of shame. It was only in the mid-1900s that the dish started reappearing in literature. Today we are very lucky to know about it, thanks to the grandmothers who passed along the stories and the tradition of having a Tiramisù as a desert in the middle of the table with the family.

If you wish to make your own, we wrote a recipe for it here!

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