Pan di sudore, miglor sapore


In  Emilia Romagna, “forno”(oven), is the name used for bread shops. Also, while the names of pasta and pastry makers comes from what they make, the name of the baker is “fornaio”, from the word oven.  Historically, many homes did not have ovens, and so the “fornaio” baked everything for them.

Similar to pasta, the names of similar breads as well as the bread itself varies from one locale to another. For example, throughout the region, bread dough  is fried into fritters with names ranging from gnocco fritto in Parma to chizza in Reggio.

Historically, white bread was expensive and only for the wealthy. The dark bread for everyone else was made from coarse ground wheat and blends of barley, millet, spelt and other grains.

Even today, bread from white flour is preferred. These crusty white breads are generally quite bland, as they are meant to complement as opposed to fight the rich flavors of the food here.

Flatbreads for snacking traditionally baked in home hearths include Piadina, Tigelle and Borlengo.


Pane Baked nearly everywhere are hard wheat rolls with a snow- white interior and tawny crust called coppiette, due to their shape resembling a “coupled” set of horns. Local versions of flatbreads abound. Thicker focaccio is called spianata or torta salata although in Bologna, with salt pork in the dough it becomes crescentina. In Emilia’s hills, paper thin borlengo or burleng is cooked like a crepe, dressed with salt pork, rosemary and garlic, folded into quarters and served with grated Parmigiano.