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The History of Focacia

Focacia is sort of half way between Pizza and bread. The word focacia is derived
from the latin word meaning hearth.


From the
Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 311)

About foccacia This flat bread topped with spices and other products is related to modern pizza. The basic recipe is thought by some to have orginiated with the Etruscans or Ancient Greeks.

"Focaccia or fougasse, a flat bread which belongs essentially to the northern shores of the Mediterranean and has its origin in classical antiquity. In ancient Rome panis focacius denoted a flat bread cooked in the ashes ("focus" meant hearth). These came the term focacia, focaccia in modern Italian, fougasse in the south of France, and fouace in the north of France...in France this form of bread had become a luxury item by the end of the middle ages. It could be, as at Amiens, a simple white bread; or it could be enriched as in Provence, where 14th and 15th century documents equate it with placentula, i.e. a sort of cake'. This enrichment made the product so different from plain bread that in at least one place it escaped a tax on bread. For many centuries it has had an association with Christmas Eve and Epiphany...In the Italian context one thing is obvious, namely that the addition of topping to a plan focaccia would result in a kind of pizza. However, apart from this aspect, Italian focaccia has branched out in various directions, both savoury and sweet...Numerous regional specialties such as the fitascetta of Lombardy, the Tuscan sticciata, and the schiacciata of Emelia are all descendants. Also, a focaccia may be made with flavourings such as onion and sage or anise, or honey, etc."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 311)




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