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A glass of zabaione
Alternative namesZabaglione, zabajone, sabayon, coffee zabaglione, coffee zabaglione, zabaglione al caffé
Place of originItaly
Region or statePiedmont[1]
Main ingredientsEgg yolks, sugar, a sweet wine

Zabaione (Italian: [dzabaˈjoːne]) or zabaglione (UK: /ˌzæbəlˈjni/, US: /ˌzɑːb-/, Italian: [dzabaʎˈʎoːne]) is an Italian dessert, or sometimes a beverage, made with egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet wine (usually Moscato d'Asti or Marsala wine).[2] Some versions of the recipe incorporate spirits such as cognac. The dessert version is a light custard, whipped to incorporate a large amount of air. Since the 1960s, in restaurants in areas of the United States with large Italian populations, zabaione is usually served with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc., in a champagne coupe, and is often prepared tableside for dramatic effect.[3] In France, it is called sabayon, while its Italian name is zabaione or zabaglione (or zabajone, an archaic spelling).

The dessert is popular in Argentina and Uruguay, where it is known as sambayón (from the Piedmontese sambajon) and is a popular ice cream flavour.[4] In Colombia, the name is sabajón. In Venezuela, there is also a related egg-based dessert drink called ponche crema; this is consumed almost exclusively during Christmas time.


Though accounts vary, the Italian dessert dates as far back as the second half of the 15th century, when a recipe for Zabaglione appears in the manuscript collection at the Morgan Library Cuoco Napoletano.[5] In Tuscany, it is said that Zabaglione has been well known since the 16th century, being very popular at the court of Catherine de' Medici. In Piedmont, it is said that the original name for the sweetmeat was Sambayon, given in honor of Saint Paschal Baylón. In Emilia-Romagna, on the other hand, it is claimed to have been named, in 1471, after the condottiere Giovanni Baglioni (in dialect 'Zuan Bajòun) whose men, in foraging for his troops, could come up only with eggs, honey, white wine, and herbs[6] – an instance of the trope 'necessity is the mother of (culinary) invention', familiar from the historicized origin legends of many cuisines.


Classic zabaione uses raw egg yolks cooked in a bain-marie and most often served with Marsala (though other wines can be substituted).[7] It can be finished with beaten egg white (meringue) or sometimes with whipped cream.

Occasionally, the wine is omitted when the dish is served to children or those who abstain from alcohol. It is then, in effect, a very different dessert. A very simple version of zabaione is called uovo sbattuto and it's mostly considered a breakfast item, especially when flavoured with espresso.

In French cuisine[edit]

The French adopted the recipe as part of their system of sauces in the 1800s as a dessert cream called sabayon.[2] By the 20th century, the name sabayon was also used to describe savory broths and yolk-based sauces.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "REGIONE PIEMONTE BU16 21/04/2016 : Deliberazione della Giunta Regionale 18 aprile 2016, n. 16-3169 : D.lgs. n. 173/98, art. 8 e D.M. n. 350 del 8 settembre 1999 - Individuazione elenco aggiornato dei prodotti agroalimentari tradizionali del Piemonte. VI aggiornamento" (PDF). Regione.piemonte.it. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b McGee, Harold (2007). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Illustrated ed.). Simon and Schuster. pp. 113–115. ISBN 978-1-4165-5637-4. Archived from the original on 23 November 2021. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  3. ^ Foster, John (2 September 2016). "Chef Foster: Hard to Pronounce Treats Offer a Pleasant Surprise with Seasonal Ingredients Added". North Kentucky Tribune. Archived from the original on 15 October 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  4. ^ Lebeaux, Rachel (23 September 2016). "Luscious Treats Abound at Dulce D Leche Gelato café". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  5. ^ "A 15th-century recipe for Zabaglione, the famous Italian dessert". Coquinaria.nl. Archived from the original on 19 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  6. ^ See for example Tunisian sabayon Archived 20 June 2020 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ DeWan, James P. (26 June 2013). "Creamy Indulgence of Zabaglione Whisk, Whisk, Whisk your Way to a Luscious Italian Custard". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 28 November 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Definition of SABAYON". Merriam-webster.com. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.

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