Helvetia: a Mantuan dessert with a Swiss name
A strong xenophilia is typical in the Mantuan gastronomic tradition. The historical links between the city and the rest of Europe have left strong marks in the local cooking.
A very good example is the Helvetia cake (also spelled Elvetia or Elvezia). Although 'Helvetia' is the Latin name of Switzerland, this cake is typical of Mantua. The dessert was invented at the end of the XVIII century, by the Putscher family. The Putschers were Swiss pastry-chefs, who moved into Mantua from the Graubünden, the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. As soon as they opened a shop in Mantua, the Putschers created this recipe, mixing the Swiss pastry techniques and the local ingredients (such as butter, almonds and sabayon). And they decided to call this cake "Helvetia", as a tribute of fame to their ancient land.The Helvetia cake is a dacquoise made with layers of almond-meringue, buttercream and sabayon.