Italy’s amateur chefs compete for the sweet taste of victory in the Tiramisu World Cup

This weekend, hundreds of amateur bakers will descend on the northern Italian city of Treviso with mascarpone and lady’s ready. They will be competing in the long-awaited pastry championship of the Tiramisù World Cup. Now in its sixth year, the four-day event will crown the tastiest non-professional expression of Italy’s most famous dessert.

Like many historic Italian foods, tiramisu is as controversial as it is classic. Every Italian grandmother and a number of pastry shops and restaurants across the country claim to make the best tiramisu. Even its origin is hotly disputed. While World Cup host Treviso claims its birthplace, the neighboring region of Friuli Venezia Giulia also claims to be the founder leading to a fierce rivalry that has lasted decades.

In the Tiramisu World Cup, the finals of which will be held on Sunday, amateur pudding craftsmen will compete in two categories. They can choose to prepare the traditional recipe – ladyfinger cookies, mascarpone cheese, eggs, coffee, cocoa powder and sugar – or the creative one, where imaginative additions are allowed. In years past, everything from bananas to green tea found their way into desserts. However, alcohol is strictly prohibited, as unfortunately it is not part of the original recipe.

Contestants are required to follow an exact recipe and use identical ingredients, except for their creative additions. A myriad of rules also dictate the size of the plate, tools and garnishes.

The final pudding masterpieces are judged on five criteria. The technical execution involves the judges taking a look at the competitors’ offices to assess their cleanliness and organization. Aesthetic appearance focuses on the arrangement of the dish and decorations, while the flavor intensity and balance of the dish analyzes the permanence of the dessert’s taste and the balance of the ingredients. Finally, the overall taste and harmony category essentially assesses how much the judges want to keep devouring the dessert.

Naturally, the spectators of such an event will be salivating for their own spoonful of the creamy delicacy. Luckily, last year’s winner of the original recipe category, Stefano Serafini, and some of the creative recipe competitors will be serving up their versions to guests. And of course, the dessert is accompanied by a glass of locally produced Prosecco.

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