Flatbread might just be the world’s oldest bread – and its popularity doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. A traditional flatbread is ‘unleavened bread’ (bread made without yeast) and has been around since the time of Ancient Egyptians. Many countries, regions and cultures have put their own spin on the basic flatbread, with Italians successfully taking the flatbread to a higher level.
The sleepy, beautiful coastal paradise of Liguria is Italy at its most gentle. Liguarians love their food, and some iconic dishes that hail from their region are deceptively simple. Some 300 years ago, Ligurian artisan bakers created a light, thin, crispy, oval-shaped bread they called Ciappe – and it’s been popular world over ever since.
Ciappe are savoury, thin flatbreads made primarily from wheat flour and olive oil. Translated from the Ligurian dialect, the word Ciappa means a thin and flat stone – which was used to create this particular flatbread. Once the dough was made, it was cut into small cubes and crushed with the Ciappa stone. This resulted in the bread having its peculiar flat shape. This process is still the same today, even on an industrial scale.
Like many Italian breads, Ciappe flatbreads are made as both a snack or light meal in their own right, but also serve as a companion or guest to many other foods. From a deliverer of hors d’oeuvres and canapes to being a part of pasta dishes, used for dips or topped with tapenade – there’s nothing a Ciappe can’t do.
Stocked from grocer’s shelves and restaurants across the country from gourmet eateries to franchise sub shops, flatbreads are part of millions of meals every day. But for Ciappe, their reach now goes far beyond Liguria, and the Artisan Bread Company’s Black Olive and Garlic & Chilli flatbreads are proof of the bread’s enduring popularity, infused with Italian flavour for modern mealtimes.
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