• Francesca Bonicolini

Learn the History Behind Tiramisù in Your Next Online Cooking Class

Updated: 6 days ago

Hi, my name is Francesca and I was born and raised in the heart of Tuscany. My latest endeavor? I just signed on to be an Online Cooking Class instructor with ChefPassport. I shared my story and a secret legend of passion and betrayal behind one of Italy's most popular dishes - Tiramisù. Apparently, the team really liked it, and asked me to share it in today's Chef Story. So here it goes!


But first, a little more about me

Believe it or not, I still live in my family's home​ on the edge of Chianti and host my live interactive cooking courses from my family's very own kitchen. I spent my childhood around the fire cooking with my grandmother, helping my mother in the family’s bakery and growing up along with all of the flavors under the Tuscan sun. I joined ChefPassport to share my culture and family's heritage via the medium of food. In Italy, food dictates our entire life and it’s imprinted in our roots. Needless to say, I am a passionate local cook and I teach traditional recipes - sharing authentic stories based on my heritage and giving special insight into real Tuscan and Italian food culture.


A view in Tuscany

My Online Cooking Classes are purely based on passion and my aim is to pass down culture told through the stories of authentic recipes so they won’t be lost. If the aromas and the seasonal flavors of our local cuisine thrill you, take part in one of my courses to learn the secrets of a culinary tradition appreciated and well-known throughout the world. It’s an opportunity for you to have fun and learn a bit of magic from a real Tuscan home.


Now that you know a little about me, let me tell you a little story, one that I love sharing with my culinary students who are eager to hear a sultry legend behind a very 'sexy' dish.


The risqué history of TIRAMISU

The Italian dessert par excellence is without a doubt Tiramisù. This dessert is listed on menus in restaurants around the world. It is so popular that it's said in 23 different languages and is the fifth most popular Italian word throughout Europe. Did you know it is the only dessert that has a 'world day' honoring its creation - that being 17 January? It is something special, indeed.


Tiramisù

But where and when was this beloved dessert created? And what is the original recipe? It is probably due to its goodness that various regions of Italy compete for having been the inventors of this decadent dessert. From Tuscany to Lombardy, from Veneto to Piedmont, from Emilia Romagna to Friuli Venezia Giulia, all these places claim to be the creator of Italy's iconic dessert. But would everyone vie for it if they knew about the Treviso legened?


What some may not know is that this pure treat has a somewhat impure beginning!

It is believed that this dessert was invented by a clever “maitresse” of a house of pleasure in the center of Treviso in 1800. It seems that the lady was offering this aphrodisiac-dessert to customers at the end of the evening in order to reinvigorate them - to solve the potential 'lay' problems they could have with their conjugal duties upon return to their wives. Knowing this, it makes sense as to why the name of this somewhat 'sexy' dessert translates from an Italian dialect into “pick me up.”


Over the centuries, a veil of popular prudery hid the true origins of Tiramisù. In fact it is not mentioned in books until the 1980s. In reality it seems Tiramisù was born in Treviso in 1970, deriving from a kind of zabaglione, locally called “sbatudin”, a poor person’s energy dessert made of egg yolk beaten with sugar.


Zabaglione

Around the world there are millions of recipes of Tiramisu with so many variations. The recipe I use is very simple and belongs to my mother Lucia, 71 years old, living here in Podere Valvigna with 2 dogs and 1 cat. She worked 40 years in the family bakery and perfected the recipe. It goes without saying that the recipe belongs to the story of our bakery and all the people who have worked hard to ensure it's authenticity.


Do you want to learn how to make this special family recipe? If so, join me during an 'In the Heart of Tuscany' Online Cooking Class for a private one-on-one lesson or register for my first public event with ChefPassport - to take place on 26 June at 6 pm Italy time - and learn the basics needed to master Italy's most popular dessert. Alternatively, think about giving the present of experience, culture and heritage as a gift for your family and friends to travel digitally to Italy with me. In any case, I am excited to host you, virtually, from my Tuscan home. I really want to know what you think of my recipes and cooking instructions, so please feel free to leave comments below!

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