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Blog - Fun Facts
The origin of the zabaione remains mysterious and rich in legends
2017/12/05
Stories of recipes. The zabaione.
The origin of the zabaione remains mysterious and rich in legends.


The history of zabaione, also known as zabajone or zabaglione, dates back several centuries ago. However, there are discordant accounts about its origins and name.

One of the legends that tell how the zabaione was invented takes us to the countryside near Reggio Emilia, around 1500. It is said that a captain of fortune, Giovanni Baglioni, arrived at the gates of the city and here he camped. Lacking food, he sent soldiers to raid the farmers' fields and houses. These managed to scrape up only eggs, honey and a few flasks of wine. So Captain Baglioni had it mixed and cooked and gave it to the soldiers instead of the usual soup. The captain was popularly called Zvàn Bajòun, so the cream took the name Zambajoun, then Zabajone and finally Zabaglione.

It seems that similar anecdotes took place, also in 1500, also at the court of Caterina de 'Medici. Here a drink similar to the zabaione was served in an iced version.

The most common and widespread story claims that the zabaione was invented in Turin in the 16th century by the Spanish Franciscan friar Pasquale Baylon who was in Turin as an apostolate.
It seems that the friar discovered the recipe by chance, and then perfected it and that he would recommend it as a tonic for weak and sick people. After his death, Fra Baylon was sanctified, eventually being called San Baylon. Today he is considered a patron saint of cooks and confectioners for having invented the cream of San Baylon or simply Sambajon from which the name Zabajone would later derive.

The oldest known recipe, however, comes from Mantua and dates back to 1662. It belongs to Bartolomeo Stefani, court cook of the Gonzaga family.

Whatever the origin of the zabaione, its recipe has spread throughout Italy and is linked to typical liqueur wines.

You just have to try the classic recipe for zabaione.
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