Balsamic Vinegar and Oil

Balsamic Vinegar and Oil

Italian Bread

bread dipping

Italian cuisine is, quite simply, a love affair with freshly-baked bread, carefully prepared and combined with other basic ingredients. Olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, white meats, herbs, pasta and bread come together to form the most tantalizing dishes of Italian origin.

Italian cuisine forms the basis of the Mediterranean Cuisine, which is sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean Diet. Often dismissed as a passing trend, it is an integral part of life in Italy. Olive oil is essential to all forms of Italian cuisine. It is present in every meal either as a condiment that one can add to their food or as an ingredient in most dishes. Bread dipping, where freshly-baked bread is dipped in extra virgin olive oil, is also very popular.

Bread is an absolutely essential part of the Italian diet. There is hardly a meal where bread is not present and, though it may seem to be a very basic ingredient, Italian cuisine would not be Italian without it. Bread finds a large number of uses in Italian cooking. Bread dipping with olive oil or fresh herbs and spices, toasted bread and garlic, as part of stuffing – these are just a few of those uses.

Some very popular types of Italian bread are the French Loaf and the Panelle bread. The French Loaf is basically a long baguette sprinkled with sesame seeds. Found in Sicily, Panelle bread is baked in ovens made of brick, giving it a delicious ‘authentic’ taste. Round in shape, it has a hard crust and soft interior, making it an excellent choice for bread dipping dishes with olive oil or various soups.

High quality bread, freshly baked and warm from the oven, dipped in extra virgin olive oil and spices is excellent as a snack or served before the main course of a meal. So-called ‘Italian Bread’ from local stores is usually soft and white, and should be avoided. It is lacking in taste and cannot compare with freshly baked bread from a bakery. Bakeries often have many types of ‘Old Country’ breads, including Baguette, Ciabata, French, Panelle, and Tuscan breads. Which bread you choose is, of course, a matter of which type you like best.

[tag] Italian bread[/tag]

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