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guide to tiramisu

All You Need to Know About Tiramisu

Tiramisu: A Very Italian Dessert 

When you are in need of a little lift look no further that a good dose of tiramisu. From the Italian ‘tira-mi-su’ this delightful concoction of coffee, mascarpone cream and cocoa literally translates as ‘pick me up‘. As one of the most famous Italian desserts it can now be found in restaurants across the globe and its easy preparation also makes it a popular dish to make at home. But what exactly is tiramisu and where does it come from?

What is tiramisu?

The most common way to make tiramisu is with savoiardi or ladyfinger biscuits which are soaked in strong espresso coffee (sometimes with a splash of liquor such as Marsala wine, amaretto or rum) and layered on the bottom of a dish before being topped with light cream made from eggs, sugar and mascarpone. Cocoa powder is then sprinkled on top. However unlike many traditional Italian recipes there are no hard and fast rules regarding the preparation of tiramisu and there are countless experimental spins on the classic procedure. It can be layered to create more of a cake structure, made in individual portions, the savoiardi can be substituted with different types of biscuit, cake or cookie, and the coffee element can be replaced with alternative flavorings or even fruit.

eat the best tiramisu in Rome

Tiramisu doesn’t have to be made with coffee

Where did tiramisu originate?

Several regions of Italy contest to be the birthplace of tiramisu and there are many conflicting stories. Some say that the dish was created in Siena in the 17th century in honour of Grand Duke Cosimo III while others maintain that it was served to clients of the brothels in the northern town of Treviso as the restorative powers of the mixture would help to keep business flowing.  Despite an ongoing debate the general consensus is that it was invented in the 1960s at a restaurant called Le Beccherie in Treviso in the Veneto region. During the 1980s the popularity of the dish hit its peak and the recipe spread throughout the Italy and the world making it a much more modern dish than most would believe.

Where should you eat tiramisu in Rome?

Take a look at the Local Aromas’ list of the best places to eat tiramisu in Rome:

Zum (Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo 20 – Centro Storico): this shop near Campo de’ Fiori is dedicated to tiramisu and offers a range of flavors from classic coffee to versions with pistachio, fruit and spices.

Flavio al Velavevodetto (Via di Monte Testaccio 97 – Testaccio): Flavio’s homemade tiramisu is served in an individual glass and is made with their own chocolate biscuits and a decadent chocolate sauce.

Da Enzo (Via dei Vascellari 29 – Trastevere): the addition of Nutella gives a chocolately, nutty kick to this delicious version of the traditional recipe.

Pompi (Via della Croce 82 – Centro Storico): Rome’s self-styled ‘kingdom of tiramisu’ is the city’s best-known and has multiple locations across town. Take your portion away in its own box to eat on the go.

make tiramisu at a cooking class in rome

Learn to make tiramisu at a Local Aromas cooking class

Learn to make the perfect tiramisu at one of our cooking classes or eat some of the best in the city on our Gelato & Dessert Tasting Tour. 

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