Bruschetta has roots in Ancient Rome. Olive growers would bring their produce to a local olive press and use bread as a way to taste a sample of their freshly-pressed oil. This is the fundamental form of bruschetta that is we recognise today, simply: bread, oil, and salt. This unassuming snack has persevered due to its simplicity, originally keeping Italian labourers and farmers well fed, and introducing a way to salvage old bread that was going stale.
Bruschetta’s ancient meaning and translations mean “’to toast’, or ‘to roast over coals” in modern English. It’s exactly that: toasted or grilled bread, usually rubbed with garlic, topped with olive oil and salt. As with a lot of world-famous food with Italian roots, bruschetta is multi-regional. Sardinia, for example, uses thinner, crispier bread, while in Tuscany you can find bruschetta topped with black kale.
The simplicity of bruschetta is its real strength, but don’t get complacent – this isn’t your Saturday morning toast or basic after dinner cracker. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetiser – something to get a dinner party started, a crispy vehicle for other more powerful flavours and Mediterranean ingredients, including: tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meats, or cheese.
For 21st Century food lovers, bruschetta is a vehicle for a new world of flavours. The Artisan Bread Company’s bruschetta, for example, pays homage to the ancient Roman recipe – making sure our bread recipe is perfect! – before mixing new flavours directly into the dough. Both Caramelised Onion and Tomato with Sweet Paprika offer subtle yet compelling flavours to elevate any food its paired with.
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