Our chefs bake this wonderfully tasty and aromatic bread on a daily basis here at our nursery, and it’s been one of our unsung heroes until now. We’re taking this opportunity to turn the spotlight on focaccia and provide a little background to this brilliant bread.
Known and loved in Italy, this yeasted flat bread is now world renowned. Although deeply rooted in the northern shores of the Mediterranean, the origins of focaccia can be dated as far back as the Etruscans and Ancient Greeks. Early versions of the bread were cooked on the hearth of a hot fire or on a heated tile or earthenware disk.
It’s often regarded as an early prototype for the modern pizza, and bakers can use many different types of toppings to keep it interesting. Most common are the savoury versions, which use olive oil, rosemary or sage, garlic, cheeses and onion. Here are at the nursery, our chefs will pick fresh rosemary from the kitchen garden while the dough is being prepared. You can also have sweet focaccia, which contains eggs, honey, raisins, anise, sugar, lemon and orange peel.
Bakers will either punctuate the bread with a knife to relieve the bubbling on the surface, or ‘dot’ the bread: this is where you create multiple wells to poke the surface of the dough by using a finger or the handle of a utensil.
This much-loved Italian bread has crossed many borders, and versions can be now found across the globe. In Burgundy in France, focaccia is called foisse or fouaisse, and in other areas of France it is known as fougasse. In Argentina, it’s widely eaten under the name of fugazza, while the Spanish call it hogaza.
This versatile bread can be eaten alone or as a snack or light meal. We serve it here in our café as a side complementing a main meal. Time, thought and care goes into each batch of bread, baked by our chefs and served every day.