Flour, water, salt and yeast, yet it’s not bread…
The word comes from the Latin “focus,” that is, baked on live fire. Soft, fluffy, glistening with olive oil, delicious! You can eat it on its own, with cheese or cold cuts.
Focaccia was born by chance, as an on-the-go treat, or a “waiting” snack. Indeed, bakers had to wait several hours for bread dough to rise before making their loaves, so they started baking some of it when still unleavened, placing directly in the hot oven or on a burning hot slate slab.
In the 16th century, it became so popular it was even consumed during religious functions. Italy produces several types of focaccia, but the most famous are those coming from Liguria: beside its most traditional variety, about an inch high, with holes on its surface and covered in olive oil, popular is also cheese focaccia, which apparently has a very old history, and may date back to the years of the Third Crusade (1189).
This type of focaccia is thinner than its basic, traditional counterpart and is filled with a type of fresh cheese, giuncata, which was – and still is – only available in Liguria. This focaccia, typical of the town of Recco, is an IGP (Indicazioine Geografica Protetta) product, and became known as focaccia di Recco at the beginning of the 20th century, when it was so popular it was rumored even the Infanta of Spain had the habit to visit the village to enjoy it.