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How To Make Panigacci and Focaccette

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A Basketful of Focaccette
A basketfull of focaccette

A basketfull of focaccette

© Kyle Phillips 2006 Licensed to About.com
The Lunigiana area, which follows the valley extending inland along the border between Tuscany and Liguria, is known for hearth cooking: People cook testaroli, a local equivalent of (some say progenitor to) pasta in testi, which are large deep cast iron skillets set over the coals, and also cook their bread over the coals, though they don't use testi, but rather testine, which are flat, unglazed terracotta saucers about 7 inches (18 cm) across: they put balls of dough on hot testine, and stack them. What emerges is flat, firm, and is called a panigaccio.

It's good, but if you return a freshly cooked panigaccio to the coals it will puff up beautifully, becoming a focaccetta. The perfect bread for a cookout!

And what exactly is a panigaccio/focaccetta? Archaic, I expect, a type of bread that either predates the development of ovens or was developed by people who couldn't stay in a given place long enough to make building an oven practical, and that has somehow survived to the present in the isolated wilds of the Lunigiana. Locals simply say they have always been.

I took the photos following a wine tasting Pierpaolo Lorieri held at his winery, the Azienda Scurtarola.

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