While scanning the morning newspaper a few days ago, this headline caught my attention. 

Aldo Campeol, ‘Father of Tiramisu’, dies aged 93.

Till then, I have never thought about having a record of the invention of any dish. Whatever we do in India is handed over from generation to generation. There can be variations but no one claimed to invent dosa or chapati or paneer makhani or idli or parantha. 

Tiramisu and it's Inventor Aldo Campeol
Tiramisu is a coffee flavoured Italian dessert which means "pick me up" or cheer me up". The main ingredients or flavours are - coffee, sugar, cheese, cocoa etc. Though originally, eggs were used, now one finds abundant eggless varieties. I live in Gujarat, where we get many eggless varieties. 


It was in the late sixties, Tiramisu is said to be invented by Ado Campeol, his wife Alba di Pillo, and chef Roberto Linguanotto, at Le Beccherie, Campeol's restaurant in Treviso, in the Veneto. The dish was added to their menu in 1972. 

It has been claimed that tiramisu has aphrodisiac effects and was concocted by a  Treviso brothel madam of the 19th century. There was no mention of any recipe by the name tiramisu before, though there is evidence of a  semi-frozen dessert "Tiremesù" served by the Vetturino restaurant in Pieris, in the Friuli Venezia Giulia, since 1938.

On July 29, 2017, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies on the list of traditional Friulian and Giulian agri-food products in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region added Tiramisu  to the list . The Italian Academy of Cuisine  certified the recipe . In 2013, Luca Zaia, governor of Veneto sought European Union Protected Status certification for the dessert, based on the ingredients used in 1970, so substitute ingredients, such as strawberries, could not be used in a dish called tiramisu. ( We do not follow this rule to name a dish in India though 😉) It looks like Italians are very possessive and protective about this dish.

Original Ingredients

Traditional tiramisu contains a these ingredients: ladyfingers (savoiardi), not our okra/ bhindi vegetable 😏, egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder and sometimes liquor. 


The original shape of the cake is round, although the shape of the biscuits also allows the use of a rectangular or square pan. However, it is often assembled in round glasses, which show the various layers. Modern versions can have the addition of whipped cream or whipped egg, or both, combined with mascarpone cream (Mascarpone is a soft Italian acid-set cream cheese). This makes the dish lighter, thick and foamy. This cake is usually eaten cold.

 Over time, replacing some of the ingredients, mainly coffee, there arose numerous variants such as tiramisu with chocolate, amaretto, berry, lemon, strawberry, pineapple, yogurt, banana, raspberry, and coconut. However, these are not considered true Tiramisu as these variations only share the layered characteristic of Tiramisu; these examples more closely resemble variations of trifle. Trifle is a layered dessert found in British cuisines.

Numerous variations of Tiramisu exist. Some cooks use other cakes or sweet, yeasted bread, in place of ladyfingers (savoiardi), utilizing other cookies, such as pavesini, in the recipe or different cheese mixtures are used as well, some containing raw eggs, and others containing no eggs at all. Liquors are frequently added in both the coffee and the cheese mixture, including dark rum, Madeira, port, brandy, Malibu, or Irish cream . Disaronno is also often used to enhance the taste of tiramisu.

Variation in the origin recipe is a sign of freedom to experiment in cooking. This free spirit is the main reason of creating so many recipes to satisfy our ever evolving palate. 

If you really want to satisfy your Indian taste buds, here is a recipe of  Rasmalai Tiramisu. I hope, Aldo must be proud of this variation. 

Petpuja.com would love to taste and write about Tiramisu offered in Ahmedabad. Please do connect, if you think your tiramisu is good and needs to be told about. 


  1. I love seeing fresh new food made and new recipes being discovered....wish I could do it myself!

    1. It's fun and easy. Many young professionals find cooking as stress-buster. Try it, I am sure you will fall in love. :)


Post a Comment