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Veneto factory worker triumphs in first ever Tiramisu World Cup

An Italian factory worker won the first ever Tiramisu World Cup on Sunday, beating 700 other amateurs to whip up the softest and creamiest version of Italy's famous dessert.

Veneto factory worker triumphs in first ever Tiramisu World Cup
One of the tiramisus entered in the competition. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Hundreds of would-be pudding maestros descended on the city of Treviso armed with whisks and sieves to compete in the two-day challenge to make the best tiramisu, which means “pick-me-up” in Italian.

The eventual winner, Andrea Ciccolella, 28, hails from Feltre in the Veneto region and works in an eyewear factory.

“My dream is to be a pastry chef and open a small cake shop of my own, where I'd make traditional, home-cooked things. Nothing fancy, but tasty and made well,” the victor told AFP.

Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

While the northern Italian region, home to the city of Venice, celebrated the sweet taste of victory the result was likely to embitter residents of neighbouring Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

A dispute over whether the pudding originates in the Veneto or Friuli region has divided foodies for decades.

Competitors for the prize were split into those following the original recipe — ladyfinger biscuits, mascarpone cheese, eggs, coffee, cocoa powder and sugar — and those getting creative by adding everything from strawberries to green tea.

While slicing bananas into the whipped mixture was permitted, adding alcohol like Marsala wine was not.

'Best dessert in the world'

The prize was awarded by Roberto Linguanotto, a pastry chef who worked in Treviso in the 1960s and 70s and is considered by Veneto as the man behind the original recipe.

“What gives the final touch to tiramisu is the coffee. It's expensive because each ladyfinger needs to be dunked in espresso, and you need lots of them: intense, good quality, flavoured,” he said.

Friuli scored an important victory in the battle over the birthplace of tiramisu in August, when the dessert was officially inserted into a list of the dishes recognized as traditional of the region.


Competitors show off their creations. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Veneto officials was outraged, with governor Luca Zaia calling on the agriculture and food minister to overturn the decision, saying “no one can swindle us out of tiramisu… the best dessert in the world”.

Friuli thumbed its nose back and poured salt on the wound when a company in Udine announced this week that it had produced a machine capable of churning out a tiramisu every 30 seconds.

Treviso mayor Giovanni Manildo side-stepped the debate on Sunday by dubbing his city “the moral capital of tiramisu”.

It was a declaration which may have amused Italian food writers who claim the dessert was actually created as a stamina-boosting treat that prostitutes fed their clients in Treviso brothels in the 1950s.

There were no reports on the stamina or blood sugar levels of the juries — composed of pastry chefs, food critics and members of the public — who were still dipping spoons as the sun went down.

READ ALSO: The words and phrases you need to know to decipher Italian restaurant menusThe words and phrases you need to know to decipher Italian restaurant menus

Photo: annakhomulo/Depositphotos

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FOOD & DRINK

From spritz to shakerato: Six things to drink in Italy this summer

Summer in Italy means lots of things - trips to the beach, empty cities, strikes, and metro works - but it also ushers in the spritz and negroni season. Here are some of the best drinks to cool down with in Italy this summer.

From spritz to shakerato: Six things to drink in Italy this summer

Spritz

Venice wins all the prizes for being the home of the spritz: the jewel in Italy’s summertime daisy crown and one of the country’s most popular exports.

To first-time customers, the sweet-and-bitter combo can taste unpleasantly like a poisoned alcopop. Stick with it, however, and you’ll soon learn to appreciate this sunset-coloured aperitif, which has come to feel synonymous with summer in Italy.

The most common version is the bright orange Aperol Spritz, but if this starts to feel too sweet once your tastebuds adjust then you can graduate to the dark red Campari Spritz, which has a deeper and more complex flavour profile.

What are the best summer drinks to order in Italy?

Photo by Federica Ariemma/Unsplash.

Negroni

If you’re too cool for the unabashedly flamboyant spritz but want something not too far off flavour-wise, consider the Negroni.

It’s equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari – though if you want a more approachable version, you can order a ‘Negroni sbagliato’ – literally a ‘wrong’ Negroni – which replaces the gin with sweet sparkling Prosecco white wine.

Served with a twist of orange peel and in a low glass, the Negroni closely resembles an Old Fashioned, and is equally as stylish. A traditional Negroni may be stirred, not shaken, but it’s still the kind of cocktail that Bond would surely be happy to be seen sipping.

Crodino

Don’t fancy any alcohol but still crave that bitter, amaro-based aftertaste?

A crodino might be just what you’re after. With its bright orange hue, it both looks and tastes very similar to an Aperol Spritz – so much so that you might initially ask yourself whether you’ve in fact been served the real thing.

Similar in flavour are soft drinks produced by the San Pellegrino brand; bars that don’t have any crodino on hand will often offer you ‘un San Pellegrino’ as a substitute. These drinks are usually available in multiple flavours like blood orange, grapefruit, or prickly pears.

A barman prepares a Campari Spritz cocktail in the historic Campari bar at the entrance of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II shopping mall. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Chinotto

Much like the crodino, the chinotto is another distinctive bitter Italian aperitivo drink.

With its medium-dark brown colouring, however, the chinotto bears more of a resemblance to Coca Cola than to the spritz, leading to its occasionally being designated as the ‘Italian Coca Cola’.

In reality far less caramelly and much more tart than coke, the chinotto has its detractors, and the fact that we’re having to describe its flavour here means it clearly hasn’t set the world alight since it was first invented in the 1930s (it was subsequently popularised by San Pellegrino, which became its main Italian producer).

If you’re looking for another grown-up tasting alternative to an alcoholic aperitivo, however, the chinotto might just be the place to look.

Bellini

What’s not to love about the bellini?

Its delicate orange and rose-pink tones are reminiscent of a sunset in the same way as a spritz, but with none of the spritz’s complex and contradictory flavours.

A combination of pureed peach and sugary Prosecco wine, the bellini’s thick, creamy texture can almost make it feel smoothie or even dessert-like. It’s a sweet and simple delight, with just a slight kick in the tail to remind you it’s not a soft drink.

Shakerato

Not a fan of drinks of the fruity/citrusy/marinated herby variety?

If caffeine’s more your thing, Italy has an answer for you in the caffe shakerato: an iced coffee drink made with espresso, ice cubes, and sugar or sugar syrup.

That might not sound inspired at first, but hear us out: the three ingredients are vigorously mixed together in a cocktail shaker before the liquid is poured (ice cube-free) into a martini glass, leaving a dark elixir with a delicate caramel coloured foam on top.

You couldn’t look much more elegant drinking an iced coffee than sipping one of these.

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