Every morning in Italy, millions of paesani head weary-eyed over to their favorite bar for their morning cup of espresso or cappuccino and their choice of bread-item to go along with it. Any innocent bystander will hear the routine request made to the barista or cashier madly ringing up the sales throughout the morning rush, only to be bombarded again at around the 10am coffee break. And what they ask for is ‘A caffè & a brioche.’ If you take the time to notice, what they get served on the other hand, is a tidy twisted version of an actual brioche, much to the dismay of the French who are quite particular about their vernacular getting bastardized in any way, shape or form; they receive the conical croissant, around some parts also more aptly called the cornetto or cornet.
|Picture from Womenoclock.com|
While on holiday in the Piedmont mountains, nestled just a few kilometers from the French border, well, they took the original brioche and made it even better: stuffing it with creamy gelato, three flavors take your pick. But the picture on the poster actually showed the real McCoy (or perhaps in this case, The Macaron...) a real brioche with its button top.
|In Sicily, it's served up with lemon granita, just like this|
picture from Non Solo Pizza & Cinema.com
I’m not sure when it was, exactly, when brioches in the rest of the Peninsula morphed into croissants. With the close ties between France and Italy, when they weren’t fighting wars, well, you’d be forgiven for thinking that many more words should have French roots and not just in Italy’s northern Valle d’Aosta.
I mean, it’d be like calling the stupendous Spätzle that you find trickling down from Austria into the Trentino region, not gnocchi (their sister food), but goulash -- made from a wholly different pasta-item hailing from Austria, if they so much as had one to offer.
Clearly, the pudgy brioche didn’t have an entire food association bestowing it with DOC labels and seals of approval to keep its lable pure and its branding unblemished like the prosciutto or parmigiano lobbies. Nonetheless, I wonder what the folks over at Slow Food have to say on the matter.