When I finally croak, I hope to leave a positive legacy behind. Unfortunately, my impact will never stand up to that of Ado Campeol, the supposed “father of tiramisu,” who died last week at the age of 93.
NPR reports that Campeol was the owner of Le Beccherie, an Italian restaurant that has long been considered the birthplace of tiramisu. If you’ve never had the pleasure of tucking into tiramisu, it consists of ladyfingers, which are spongy cake-like biscuits, soaked in coffee. The layers of ladyfingers are separated by a delicious cream base made with egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone cheese; finally, the whole thing is sprinkled with cocoa powder. NPR reports that the official Le Beccherie recipe was eventually certified by the Italian Academy of Cuisine. That’s how you know it’s good.
Technically, Campeol’s “father of tiramisu” moniker is a bit misleading. The BBC reports that Campeol’s wife, Alba Campeol, actually invented the dish alongside Roberto Linguanotto, one of Le Beccherie’s chefs. The dish came about the way many great dishes do: by accident, after Linguanotto accidentally dropped mascarpone in a bowl of eggs and sugar. Alongside Campeol’s wife, Linguanotto added coffee-soaked ladyfingers and created the final recipe, which first appeared on the restaurant’s menu in 1972.
Of course, the haters have plenty to say about Campeol’s legacy. Italian chef Carminantonio Iannaccone once claimed to have invented the dessert himself while also brushing off the ingenuity involved in the dish. “It’s not like the telephone,” Iannaccone told The Washington Post. “It’s just a dessert.”
Be that as it may, tiramisu is a staple on Italian restaurant dessert menus worldwide. If Campeol had anything to do with its invention, I say we shower his grave in roses—while making sure to save some glory for his wife and his chef, too.