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The Pleasures (and Addiction) of Pizza Bianca

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July 6, 2010 Food & Drink, Shops and Specialties 5 Comments

Do not underrate this delicious Roman specialty. To do so will be at your peril. Pizza bianca – the warm, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, ‘white pizza’ (although not a white pizza at all) makes up an essential part of the Roman diet. Some translate it as ‘flat bread,’ although no other flatbread I’ve ever had tasted like this. It’s essentially a pizza without any toppings, so the entire surface becomes crispy and golden, and dressed only slightly with olive and salt. It’s served at every forno and panificio (bread-shop) around town, and is often used as bread for sandwiches, sliced down the center.

Romans have a special relationship with pizza bianca, eating it variously for a mid-morning snack, around 11, for lunch as part of a sandwich, and in the afternoon, when children accompanied by their nonni or baby-sitters are given a small piece as an after-school treat. I didn’t totally understand the pizza bianca craze when I arrived in Rome. I’d heard a lot about it, but the first time I tried it, I thought,

pizzabianca 300x184 The Pleasures (and Addiction) of Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca from Il Forno in Campo de' Fiori

“good, but it’s just nice, warm bread.” About a month later I realized I started to get very cranky on days when I didn’t have it, and following that no day went by without pizza bianca. Now every day at around 4 p.m. I get a craving for a small, yeasty snack. Several months later when a friend arrived I raved about the bianca and insisted she try some. “It’s good,” she told me, “but it’s just nice warm bread.” Little did she know…

In the center, the best and most famous places to go are Il Forno di Campo de’ Fiore and Roscioli. Il Forno is my preference, because I think the pizza has a richer flavor. What are places you love for pizza bianca?

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Eli says:

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    I love pizza bianca… There is nothing like it!! (Although northern-italian focaccia is quite similar, but much thicker.)

  2. Simon B says:

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    This is interesting. Can’t agree more about the initial feeling of “ok, not bad, what is all the rave…” to “the addiction!”

    But why? Why is it so addictive? It reminds me of warm salted peanuts – in that the warm, salt and oil together becomes so morish – and right about the kids too. Mine are mad for it.

    • Eli says:

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      Why is it so addictive… I agree with the salt and oil that create just the right taste, but I also think that the texture is important: Some parts are crunchy, and some are soft!

  3. Guido says:

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    Actually, the best thing you can have is goin gto a real pizzeria with a wooden over and asking for a simple “focaccia semplice”.. you get the best of pizza bianca with the added wooden oven flavour ;)

  4. Dersreari says:

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    In the seventh heaven New Year everyone! :)

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