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This past weekend, the world lost the ‘father’ of tiramisu

This past weekend, the world lost the ‘father’ of tiramisu

The delicious legacy, conceived in his Treviso restaurant, will likely endure forever, though

This past weekend, while busy prepping up their Halloween costumes and making plans for trick or treating or partying, few people were aware of the passing of someone by the name of Ado Campeol. Aged 93, this man had been universally recognized as the ‘father’ of the much-beloved tiramisu dessert.

He was the owner of a family restaurant, called Le Beccherie and which still exists, in the northern Italian city of Treviso. It was there during the early 1970s that the coffee-flavoured dessert was born, ready to take over the world in the subsequent decades.

Do you know the meaning of the name ‘tiramisu’?

It is perhaps a bit strange that such a globally popular treat is not as ancient as some might have thought, but it is also mystifying that the world is largely ignorant of its original home. The restaurant, located in Piazza Ancillotto in the centre of the city, is a family business belonging to the Campeol family (since 1939), who are credited as being the inventors of the dish.

Ado, however, has not been mentioned as being part of the original creation, although he might have played some part in fine-tuning the details. The story goes that it was, in fact, his mother who had the first idea of combining coffee and eggnog. She did that in 1955 as a way to give her pregnant daughter-in-law Alba, Ado’s wife, an energy-boosting breakfast drink.

What happened next is a bit hazy. According to the restaurant’s website, Alba decided to create a new dessert that was inspired by the invigorating drink. According to other sources, however, the creation was possible thanks to an incident when a whole bunch of mascarpone cheese was knocked into a bowl of eggs and sugar mixture. It was after that the Alba Campeol, together with the restaurant chef Roberto Linguanotto started trying out different versions.

Eventually, they came up with the idea to add ladyfinger sponge cakes soaked in coffee and called the result ‘teramesu’, meaning ‘pick me up’ – a reference to the invigorating power of the treat. In fact, this is how the dessert is still spelt at Le Beccherie, where it first appeared on the menu in 1972.

The Campeol family were formally recognized by the Italian Academy of Cuisine as the original inventors of tiramisu in 2010. That was needed because after it gained popularity many other places in the Region of Veneto started claiming to be the originators.

So, next time you are in Treviso and try out the original recipe. Le Beccherie also offers a deconstructed version.

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