The ladyfinger operates under a slew of aliases. It’s gone by the name of boudoir biscuit, long finger, Naples biscuit and trifle biscuit. In France it’s known as biscuit à la cuillère or “spooned” biscuit, supposedly because the batter was originally shaped by hand with a spoon. I have no idea whether or not that’s true.
In many parts of the world the ladyfinger is called the Savoy biscuit, a name which is probably the most apt, as that is where it originally comes from, Savoy. And if you’re wondering where Savoy is, you need look no further than the region where France and Italy meet, by a little corner of the Mediterranean known as the Ligurian Sea. Savoy is interesting in that it’s home to the longest continuous royal line in Europe, the House of Savoy. Savoy was founded as a county early in the 11th century, the time — at least according to some legends — that the ladyfinger was invented. A more plausible story is that the ladyfinger was created in the 15th century, back when Savoy was a Duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, and has been a traditional food of the region ever since.