Even though tiramisù is actually a fairly recent invention, this dessert of coffee-soaked ladyfingers layered with mascarpone cream enjoys an iconic status among Italian desserts.
Its name stems from the phrase tirami sù, an Italian expression which literally means pick me up, a reference to the uplifting effects of sugar, coffee and eggs.
The origins of tiramisù are heavily disputed between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions, but it is often suggested that the first was made in Veneto in the early 1980s. In fact, the earliest documented recipe for tiramisù (interestingly, without alcohol!) was printed in the 1981 spring edition of Vin Venetomagazine in an article on coffee-based desserts by Giuseppe Maffioli, a renowned food critic and member of the Italian Academy of Cuisine.
However, in August 2017, Friuli-Venezia Giulia's tiramisu was officially added to the list of traditional regional dishes, but a Veneto local won the Tiramisu World Cup in November 2017, so the playing field is somewhat levelled once again.