Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tiramisu, anyone?

I wonder what it is about Tiramisu that most cafes make it a point to feature it on their menu. But stop right there. What gets served on your table is invariably a pastry in light brown color, only sometimes with a flavor of coffee - if you are lucky.

The motivation is easily understandable if my reaction to the mention of Tiramisu in a menu is indicative of a larger trend. Overcome with greed and hope, I give it a shot everywhere - at least once. But then 'pick me up' ( what Tiramisu means in Italian) is a promise not easy to resist. The fact that Tiramisu is only around ten years old should hardly be an excuse for the disappointment that follows, or for the widespread culinary short change.

Said to have been originated at Le Beccherie in the city of Treviso (located north west of Venice), Tiramisu was an instant hit. It was as instantly copied by other restaurants, first in Italy and then the world over. It has been claimed that even today Le Beccherie makes it with the classic recipe - ladyfingers soaked in bitter strong espresso coffee, mascarpone-zabaglione cream and bitter cocoa powder.

So, until I manage to save enough euros to make it to Treviso, I will have to settle for Little Italy on 100 feet road in Bangalore the next time a Tiramisu craving strikes. In my opinion, Little Italy also serves the best pizzas in Bangalore - and the only pizza I eat these days.

Back to the story, one of the regrets of Alba and Ado Campeol - owners of Le Beccherie - is that they didn't patent the name and recipe to avoid speculation and the profusion of many a recipe that have nothing to do with the original Tiramisu. If only.

[Original pic by pasotraspaso]
[Tiramisu origins courtesy Linda Stradley. ]