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FOOD & DRINK

‘Father of tiramisu’ dies in Italy aged 93

Ado Campeol, dubbed "the father" of the world-famous tiramisu dessert, died over the weekend, the governor of the Veneto region has announced. He was 93.

'Father of tiramisu' dies in Italy aged 93
Classic tiramisu is made by layering espresso-soaked biscuits with mascarpone and topped off with powdered cocoa. Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Campeol was the owner of Le Beccherie restaurant in the city of Treviso that began first offering the concoction of coffee-soaked biscuits and mascarpone in the 1970s.

The dessert, which first came about because of a mistake by Campeol’s wife Alba and his chef at the time according to local media reports, quickly took off and is today considered a staple of Italian cuisine beloved by those with a sweet tooth the world over.

“With Ado Campeol, gone today at age 93, Treviso loses another one of its gastronomical stars,” Luco Zaia, the governor of the Veneto region, wrote on social media on Saturday.

“It is at his restaurant, thanks to the intuition and imagination of his wife, that was born the tiramisu, one of the most celebrated desserts in the world.”

The word tiramisù, which means “lift me up”, comes from the Treviso dialect tireme su.

Though Campeol is known as the “father of tiramisu”, it was in fact his wife, Alba, who invented the recipe.

Their son Carlo, the current owner of the Le Beccherie restaurant, said it came about completely by chance when his mother was breastfeeding him. “She had turned to mascarpone mixed with sugar and biscuits soaked in coffee to keep her energy up, which is traditional in Treviso,” he told The Guardian. “Then, with her chef, she turned those elements into a pudding.”

The dessert first appeared on the restaurant’s menu in 1972.

Classic tiramisu is made by layering espresso-soaked biscuits with mascarpone and topped off with powdered cocoa.

Today the dessert comes in a myriad of varieties, from fruit to peanut butter.

READ ALSO: How to make a classic Italian tiramisù

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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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