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Panzanella, traditional Tuscan cold dish

Curiosity and advice on how to prepare it

"It's summertime, it's panzanella time," reads the saying.

Panzanella, peasant dish of Tuscan tradition, was born, according to some, the custom of peasants to wet the dry bread and mix it together with the vegetables to reuse stale bread. Another version instead argues that the tasty dish is born on board vessels when sailors, with only some bread and tomato, used to moisten it with sea water.

Like all traditional dishes around the panzanella are born different stories; it is said that Barone Ricasoli had offered to King Vittorio Emanuele, his guest in the Castello di Brolio.

Whatever its origin, what is certain is that the panzanella is a very old dish, so much that even the Boccaccio in his Decameron novel speaks of the famous "pan bagnato."

The etymological origins of the name appear to be uncertain, is referred to as composed by the word bread and the word "zanella", namely small container of a concave shape. A second version indicates it as a variant of the word cock and bull story, a synonym of frottola.

The basic ingredients to prepare it are the homemade bread stale Tuscan bread, tomatoes, Basil and onions seasoned with salt, vinegar and oil. Their oil is, after the bread, the key ingredient to blend and enhance the different flavors, for this reason it is important to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil . The oil represents one of the products of the Tuscan agricultural production protected by 1998 from protected geographical indication and the Consortium for the protection of Tuscan olive oil.


The ingredients to prepare panzanella following the traditional recipe are:

(for 4 people)

  • 300 g stale Tuscan bread
  • 1 red onion (preferably of Certaldo)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Basil
  • vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • extra virgin olive oil



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