Sugar high (dudgeon)

It is to giggle (in Italian, of course) . . .

Veneto and neighbouring Friuli Venezia Giulia have for years been locked in a battle over which is the true birthplace of tiramisu, which is loved, imitated and bastardised in kitchens around the globe.

Friuli Venezia Giulia has now scored a significant victory in the culinary clash after persuading the Italian government to list tiramisu as one of its traditional dishes with an official decree.

. . .

The Friulians insist their claim is backed up by historical records, some of which were dug up by a pair of food writers last year.

Clara and Gigi Padovani unearthed recipes from the 1950s which referred to a dessert called “tirime su” or “tirimi su” being produced in the region, including at a restaurant in the town of Tolmezzo in 1959. “We travelled all over Italy to discover the true origins of tiramisu,” they said at the launch of a book they wrote on the quest to pin down the dessert’s provenance.

But the Friulians’ claim to culinary fame has been met with outrage just across the border in the Veneto.

The Veneto region, which encompasses Venice, has long claimed the title, insisting that the dessert was created in a restaurant in the town of Treviso in the 1970s.

Luca Zaia, the governor of Veneto, is even threatening to launch a legal battle to challenge his neighbours’ presumption.  “I’m literally thunderstruck in response to this decree,” he said. “It seems to me that someone has given the ministry not entirely accurate documentation.

“By signing this decree and assigning such recognition to Friuli Venezia Giulia, the ministry has effectively said that it counts for nothing that five million Veneto people recognise tiramisu as one of their typical dishes and that it counts for nothing that we have an industry based around this product. I ask the ministry to suspend the decree.”

There’s more at the link.

A tiramisu industry?  Really?  Complete with chimneys belching coal smoke, and shifts of workers going to and from the factories to produce more and more of the stuff?

Regional pride in Europe is a strange thing.  I suspect it goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, when many regions were independent, not part of larger nation-states.  They’ve retained a certain local focus, demanding recognition of factors that set them apart and make them ‘unique’.  However, arguing about ‘ownership’ of a dessert that’s less than 50 years old . . . there’s not much tradition in that!  Surely they could find some older and more historic recipe over which to fight?



  1. Speaking of regional pride in locally-produced things, Vidalia onions are big business in Georgia, as you undoubtedly know.
    Only grown in about 20 counties, they command premium prices.
    I remember some years back, some University guy coming up with a soil test to tell where the best ones really grew….
    Almost came to rope-and-tree status for him…

  2. German Life magazine had an article last year about how tiramisu was developed by an Italian cook… in Germany. The Germans claim it too.

    Mike, the GPS approach point into Vidalia was/ is ONYNS. And 10-O-6s are better, IMHO.


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