When someone firsts sits down to a meal in Tuscany, they might spot a cheeky basket of bread hiding behind the oil, salt and vinegar at any Tuscan restaurant.
Crusty outside and soft interior, probably the most distinguishing characteristic is the fact that when you first bite on a piece of this Tuscan staple, you might be surprised to taste no salt. In fact, we have personally heard many complain of Tuscan bread being almost tasteless which is why we decided to touch on this in our latest post.
According to www.charmingitaly.com in Mugello (the area where Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort is set) “the Neanderthals are said to be the first modern man to make flour. Researchers from the Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protosoria, have found traces of flour in the region of Mugello that dates back to 30,000 years”.
But what about the salt? Stories vary, but the most popular one is that salt was heavily taxed during the Middle Ages in Tuscany so Tuscans opted to go without in their daily bread. There are also rumors swirling about that Pisa placed an embargo on salt to the Tuscan city of florence.
Now you might wonder, why is this still the case even though bread is very affordable in any Tuscan store dedicated to ‘pane’? Well the reason is, Italian food tone has very rich sauces that pair well with a simple bread lacking salt. A salt less bread helps you focus on the flavors of the dish, including topped with extra-virgin olive oil.
One of our favorite snacks, and an Italian favorite is crusty tuscan bread toasted and rubbed with raw garlic, than sprinkled with our olive oil and a little salt. This is a dish simply for the gods, and well…for everyone else too!