Once upon a time in Rome, a young restaurateur named Alfredo Di Lelio invented a pasta dish and named it after himself – Fettuccine Alfredo! Today, it had become one of the world’s most famous pasta dish. Numerous versions and fusion makeovers of this dish have been made flattering the meticulous taste palates of eaters across the globe. But, did you know that this dish had a very interesting saucy secret?

Fettuccine Alfredo and its saucy history

It was in 1914 when Di Lelio’s wife gave birth to their first child. She lost her appetite after childbirth and could not eat anything at all.

But she needed strength to nurse the newborn baby. Alfredo struggled to find a solution but to no avail.

Out of desperation, the new papà stormed his kitchen and gathered every best ingredients available in his restaurant. He grabbed freshly done egg noodles, grated young Parmesan cheese, and scooped the best butter he could find. Yes, the original recipe was only made up of 50% young Parmesan, 50% butter, and egg noodles. And yes again, this very popular pasta dish was originally served without cream, flour and garlic.

Luckily, the sick wife loved it and started regaining her appetite. He included it to the restaurant’s menu and even named it after himself. Indeed, the Alfredo in Fettuccine Alfredo was named after its inventor.

It attracted the locals and eventually became a sensation in their small citadel.

However, it was in 1927 when the dish became a phenomenon. A visiting silent movie stars, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, dined at Ristorante Alfredo and fell in love with this cheesy and savory pasta bowl. The newlyweds brought it to Hollywood and the rest is history.

But, funny enough, the international success of the dish overwhelmed the domestic one. As a matter of fact, Italians weren’t really keen in cooking Fettuccine Alfredo. Well, apart from – touristic restaurants! True Italian recipes were more oriented to tomato seasonings and even amongst the “white” saucy dressings (which are more popular in the Northern regions).

Meaning, the Alfredo sauce wasn’t really so widespread.

Fettuccine Alfredo, WHO? - Italians

Amid its international popularity, majority of the Italian population wasn’t even aware of Fettuccine Alfredo. In fact, when you come across locals in Italy and ask about the dish, they will surely answer you back, (drum rolls) “Who is Alfredo?”

Authentic Italian dishes usually, if not by default, were tomato-based. The flair of this tradition had been used for centuries and passed on from generation to generation. Previous popes, conquerors, and past ruling monarchs of the warring Italian states had feasted with cuisines immersed in real tomato goodness – the true Italian spirit!

To set things straight about Italy’s real food identity, Cirio – the Ambassadors of authentic Italian cuisine – had launched a campaign in the United Kingdom to separate the true Italian from fake commercial dishes being offered to tourist.

Embarking on a mission, Cirio reached out to online foodies to be in line with the Italian tradition. The campaign was called “I Am Not Alfredo”, a sarcastic reference to Fettuccine Alfredo’s fake commercial success. Participants were asked to photograph themselves while cooking or eating a tomato-based dish, of course, using the Cirio’s canned tomato products.

You need to register first at whoisalfredo.com to join the campaign. Then, share your pictures online via Facebook timeline or through the image gallery embedded in the mini website. Make sure to use our official hashtag, #IAmNotAlfredo, to spread this gastronomic awareness.

Post one photo each day starting today until July 15 and get a chance to win Cirio Goodie Bags in the daily raffles.

Five lucky Italian dish lovers would have the chance to fly for two in Italy for a 3-day Cooking Holiday in Tuscany from September 23 to 26. Winners should present a proof-of-purchase of any Cirio product bought within the contest period.

Let’s shatter fake consumerism and live up for the true Italian food heritage by joining Cirio’s “Who Is Alfredo” campaign!