Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Daily Bread

Pane duro is what this loaf is called here in Viterbo. A lot of the local bread is made without salt in the Tuscan style as we're not far from Tuscany but this loaf is more like the Pane Matera made in and around the city of Matera in Basilicata. Thick, chewy crust with a crumb that almost magically stays moist for days. The legend is this bread was baked for workers who'd be gone from their homes for a week or more. This bread was specifically baked to stay fresh so a loaf would last until the worker returned home a week later for another loaf. Not only does it stay fresh, it tastes good too. Larry buys a small piece each day -- that's right, you can buy less than a whole loaf, either by telling the nice lady shown here how big a piece you want to telling her you want so many grams. She'll carve off a chunk and weigh it out in any case since the price is by weight. This place, Artigianpan 86 is less than 100 meters from our front door so getting our daily bread, along with a few squares of pizza bianca (sometimes with rosemary) moist with olive oil, is a daily ritual for Larry nowadays. The 86 in the name of the store denotes they began in 1986 -- so they're a relatively new operation by local standards! If any is left the next day, we toast it up and spread on some artisan made hazelnut/chocolate spread (imagine Nutella made with the best ingredients by local folks who care) and enjoy it at breakfast.

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