Sweets & Confectionery

The challenge of Tiramisu

Today is the Tiramisu Day and at FICO Eataly World a contest between regional recipes from Veneto and Friuli will take place to decide which is the best dessert

Today is the Tiramisu Day. Tiramisu is the world most beloved Italian dessert, whose history has been shrouded in mystery for many years. It was invented in Friuli Venezia-Giulia region, but it was Veneto to get it out in Italy and across the five continents. These two regions of North-Eastern Italy are still battling over the invention of a delicacy which can boast many different interpretation. Today, an attempt is being made to sign peace. The meeting place will be FICO Eataly World in Bologna, where confectioners from the two regions will present their respective recipes.

How the ‘war’ began

The fight started when the journalist Gigi Padovani and his wife, the writer Clara Vada – authors of several books on gastronomy – decided to write a book on tiramisu. Looking for recipes among historic restaurants and old cookbooks they made a discovery that, published in the book ‘Tiramisù’ (Giunti publishing house), created a real ‘State affair’ by causing official positions to be taken in the Veneto and Friuli regions. In fact, it had always been handed down that tiramisu was born in Treviso (Veneto), precisely at the restaurant Le Beccherie whose owners were the first to publish the recipe in a book in the ’70s. But the two writers have discovered an older recipe, that of ‘tirime-su’, on the menu of the restaurant of the Roma hotel in Tolmezzo (Udine, Friuli) since the ’50s. The ‘war’ went on with the warnings of the President of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia (They can also write that they invented it in Bulgaria, but the truth is that it is a Venetian cake) and the pride motions of Friuli people, who began to organize conferences and cooking shows on the subject. There were also moments of respite (such as the metaphorical ‘handshake’ sanctioned by the World Cup of Tiramisu in Treviso) and reigniting of controversy, when the Venetian Confraternity of Tiramisu asked to invalidate the record for the longest Tiramisu in the world – beaten by the confectioners of Gorizia – as it was made with cream.

A sweet success

But the struggle between the supporters of the two regions does not seem to tarnish the desire of Italian confectionery lovers, who rather eat more and more tiramisu especially at home. This is shown by market data collected by food delivery operator Just Eat, according to which in 2017 – in the ten largest cities of the country – people ordered 9.400 kilos, with a 75% increase, of this dessert. Mostly the classic recipe, but also the variants to pistachio, fruit, Nutella and green tea.

Peace agreement

Today, a lasting peace agreement will be attempted during the second edition of Tiramisu Day. It is a special competition organized at FICO, in Bologna, with teams from both regions ‘blessed’ by the presence of the mayors of the two cities of Tolmezzo and Treviso. The goal is to admit that, if the dessert was born in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, it was Veneto that made it known in Italy and all over the world. So the competition in a climate – hopefully – of fair play will mostly be an opportunity to remember, geography aside, the goodness of a dessert based on Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers), mascarpone cheese and coffee. It will be of course a big problem for the jury to decide which team can boast the title of the most authentic tiramisu. Indeed, there will be three juries: one composed of experts, such as the members of the Accademia Maestri Pasticcieri Italiani (Italian Master Confectioners Academy), led by President Gino Fabbri (from Bologna) and Santi Palazzolo (from Palermo); a technical jury, with the founder of Eataly Oscar Farinetti, the CEO of FICO Tiziana Primori, and the two writers Clara and Gigi Padovani; finally, a popular jury with 70 members accredited on the internet in recent days.

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