Idea Tourism Magazine

Food & Wine

Zabaione, sweet and frothy cream

Eggs, sugar and sweet or fortified wine are the basic ingredients for this excellent dessert to eat with a teaspoon. A goodness that appeals to young and old and that is cooked especially in the colder seasons.

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For a perfect success of the recipe simple precautions are necessary: ​​cook it in a bain-marie without being in a hurry and use very fresh eggs.



The zabaglione is a cream made thicken a bain-marie based on egg yolks, sugar and wine. It has a delicate but vigorous taste, with a highly energetic content. The most frequent variations to the recipe concern the wine, which can be a sweet wine like moscato, or dry, white or in some cases, also red; originally it was produced with liqueur wine. Substituting the wine with Marsala you get a cream of great character.

Area of production

It is produced in the whole region.


The origin of the zabaglione dates back to 1500, when the captain of fortune Emiliano Giovanni Baglioni camped at the gates of the city of Reggio Emilia and having few provisions with which to feed his soldiers, he arranged with eggs, sugar and wine found in the farms of the area . Not knowing how to combine these ingredients, there was nothing left to do but mix them, cook them and give this forerunner of the zabaglione to the soldiers who were enthusiastic about it. The people called Giovanni Baglione “Zvàn Bajòun” and the cream took its name. Another anecdote tells that this cream originates from Venice, where in the seventeenth century a typical Dalmatian drink was prepared, called “zabaja”, flavored with sweet Cyprus wine. In 1533, a dessert similar to zabaglione was served in the form of a sorbet, at the court of Caterina De ‘Medici and since then it is found in the most authoritative recipes. Piedmontese like to believe that this sweet derives from the name of a Spanish Franciscan religious, Pasquale de Baylon (1540-1592), who arrived in Turin following the duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, returning from the battle of S. Quintino. Pasquale de Baylon would have invented the cream that, after the sanctification in 1690, would have become the cream of San Baylon, that is “sambajon”, zabaione in Piedmontese. Many circumstances contribute to reinforce the legend, including the fact that San Baylon has been the patron of cooks since 1722 and May 17 is revered and celebrated in the church of St. Thomas, in Turin, where there is a statue of his. Another version concerns Carlo Emanuele I, Duke of Savoy, who elected this cream to the dignity of eating from nobles. Its characteristics have given rise to a mischievous and ancient belief, according to which it would have been advised to the common people, and perhaps also to the ladies, as infallible corroborante suitable to restore vigor to the tired husbands. It is believed that the zabaione is an invention of some cook of the Savoyard court in the late 1600s.

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