Tiramisù is in fact the fifth most recognised Italian food-related word among non-Italian speakers, and the best-known dessert word, and is used in everyday speech in 23 different languages. The word Tiramisù comes from the Treviso dialect Tireme su which means a pick-me-up.
However, when it comes to attributing paternity, sparks begin to fly: some claim it was invented in the Tuscan city of Siena, others in Emilia, and others still in Turin, but the fiercest rivalry is without doubt between Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, so much so that battles rage to this day over its origins. According to the Veneto side, tiramisù saw the light of day in the late 1960s at the Alle Beccherie restaurant, invented by pastry chef Roberto Linguanotto (or Loly to his friends). But when Veneto announced its intention to have the dessert officially recognized as a local speciality, Friuli, led by the municipalities of Tolmezzo and Pieris di San Canzian d'Isonzo, set up the barricades. The citizens of Tolmezzo claimed that the dessert had been invented at the Hotel Roma by Norma Pielli and her husband Giuseppe Del Fabbro (or Beppino to his friends). The hotel restaurant used to serve 19th century chef Pellegrino Artusi’s Dolce Torino which contained ladyfingers, butter, chocolate, egg yolk and milk, and it was actually Mrs. Pielli in 1951 who decided to replace the butter with mascarpone and drench the ladyfingers in bitter coffee. The province of Gorizia, however, claims that tiramisù was dreamt up by Mario Consolo, inventor of the Vetturino, a chocolate and zabaglione dessert, the recipe for which was even registered back in the 1940s with a local notary. In the long-running diatribe, for now the only official pronouncement has come from the delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, supporting the Veneto position that it was created at Alle Beccherie in Treviso.
A simple flavour, but one of outstanding character and which, inspired by one of the champions of Italian cuisine, makes an unforgettable gelato. And on Gelato Day 2019, every gelato parlour that signs up will be serving it. A European festival with an Italian heart, highlighting the craftsmanship of master gelato makers and regaling a touch of sweetness to gourmets the world over.