A Tribute to Ado Campeol, co-creator of the Tiramisu

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Financial Times

Co-creators Ado Campeol and Alba Di Pillo pose next to a bronze plate of Tiramisu.

A thin blanket of cocoa powder rests on a layer of light mascarpone cream, whisked to perfection. Neatly arranged rows of coffee-soaked ladyfingers right below the cream mixture that counteract their sweet taste with an unintrusive bitter note.

A hallmark of Italian restaurants, the Tiramisu is a dessert enjoyed around the world, yet very few know of its origin. The popularity of the treat overshadowed its founder so much that the recent death of the father of Tiramisu becomes unanticipated news.

On October 31st, Ado Campeol passed away at age 92. Back in the 60s, he and his wife Alba Di Pillo ran their bistro, La Becherrie, in a quaint Northern Italy town, Treviso. They accidentally invented the Tiramisu when Campeol was making vanilla ice cream and unintentionally mixed in mascarpone. He savored the frozen mixture with coffee-soaked biscuit, a combination that Di Pillo perfected into the popular dessert that we know today. .

Because the Campeol couple did not patent the dish, there are many different adaptations of Tiramisu, such as the popular addition of rum into the recipe.

What makes the Tiramisu so popular is its subtle sweetness and coffee taste. Different from other cream or cheese-based desserts like the cheesecake, its texture is fluffy and far from over-bearing. It combines the taste of mascarpone, chocolate, and coffee perfectly into a dish of moderation and indulgence.

“Eating Tiramisu is like eating a flavorful cloud,” said Koki Mashita (’22), avid dessert enthusiast and recreational chef. “It is not too sweet and not too bitter. I also love its presentation. And I love tea with it, earl grey tea.”

The Webb community is no exception from Tiramisu’s far-reaching popularity. Here, many students can order the dessert on Uber Eats or discover it on a meal out.  Like the public, not many students were aware of Campeol’s passing and expressed great regret over the news.

“I am very disheartened by his death,” Cindy Zhu (’23) said. “I definitely wish he received more recognition for the delicious dessert he created and the happiness he brought for all of us, especially me.”

Like Cindy, the world agrees that the Campeol family was not nearly well-known enough for their contribution to the culinary world. With all the variations of Tiramisu, ranging from different flavors like matcha or alcohol additions, let us not forget the original Italian recipe from the town of Treviso and the couple whose happy accident added a great taste to Italian restaurants and dessert lovers worldwide.

People always say the best way to commemorate someone is to always remember their legacy.  For Ado Campeol, it is his original Tiramisu recipe; shown below is the Webb Canyon Chronicle’s best take at his dessert. Happy baking!