A Bitter-sweet Tale: Restaurant That Invented Tiramisu to Close

La Beccherie first served the dessert in the 60s, but price-conscious consumers now prefer fast food, the owner says.

BERLIN - The world economic crisis has claimed another victim: The universally loved dessert, the tiramisu.

Next month, the Italian restaurant that popular lore credits with inventing the dish – a layer cake made of ladyfingers, espresso, mascarpone cheese, beaten egg whites, wine or liquor and cacao – will close its doors.

This bitter-sweet tale began in 1939, when La Beccherie was first opened in the city of Treviso in northern Italy, famous for the local clothing company Benetton, a top-notch basketball team and the 1480 blood libel in which five Jews were burned at the stake for murdering a Christian child for ritual reasons.

In the 1960s, the restaurant's owners, Ada and Aldo Campeol, served the special cake for the very first time. By 1970, it was baptized "tiramisu," meaning "pick me up" in Italian.

The rest could have been just delicious history if not for the next chapter. On March 30, the restaurant will shut down due to changing consumer habits brought about by the economic crisis that began in late 2007.

Carlo Campeol, the 60-year-old owner, explained that Italians have tightened their purse-strings and now prefer eating at fast food joints over enjoying a sit-down dinner in a restaurant.

"Nothing lasts forever," he said.

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