When it comes to Italian cuisine, the first association we make is pizza, spaghetti and pasta. Right? Indeed, all of them have become world famous but it’s true that they are prepared and cooked in the most delicious way only in their homeland – Italy.
I always enjoy eating a delicious Margherita or Spaghetti alla bolognese in a small, corner restaurant and I rarely miss the chance to indulge in their exceptional taste. But sometimes, it’s not possible. At a time I really don’t have enough time for restaurants and that’s why I prefer to buy something and eat it on the go.
It’s not very common to eat fast food in Italy, I know, since the country is famous for having strong culinary traditions but it happens. One of the most popular examples of Italian fast food is Panzerotto that’s a small, stuffed, folded pizza (or better described as a small calzone) with a filling of pomodori and mozzarella. Principally, it’s known to be a local specialty of the city of Milan but as a matter of fact, it’s native to southern Italy.
Actually, Panzerroto originates from the regions of Apulia (Puglia) and Campania. Its name comes from the southern Italian word for “stomach” (“pancia”) and it is related to its puffy shape. Traditionally people from Apulia prepare it for Saint Antonio Abate’s Day (he is the Patron of butchers) on January 17 and thus the Carnival of Bari begins.
That half moon pastry has been widely spread out also in Naples (Campania) since the 18th century. Local folks follow the same traditional recipe when they prepare it but they know it mainly as a “pizza fritta” (“fried pizza”). Of course, they also use its real name but instead of “Panzerotto”, they call it “Panzarotto”
After a long journey from southern Italy, the folded focaccia “arrived” also in Milan in the middle of last century. Its traditional Apulian recipe was brought to the city by Mr Luini in 1949. Soon after his arrival the legendary pastry became well-known among the Milanese and even nowadays lots of tourists regard it as a typically local specialty of Milan without being aware of its southern origin.
If you are somewhere near il Duomo, la Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or La Scala in Milan, take a short stroll to Luini’s Bakery and meet Mr Panzerotto. You won’t regret it at all, believe me. 😉