These thick, oily, fluffy slabs of joy will make you seriously reconsider the point of any alternative breakfast or snack. In fact, I owe my rapidly decreasing wardrobe (only the baggiest, loosest attire has made the cut) solely to the increase in focaccia I am injesting.
Focaccia is found all over the place in Italy and regional interpretations differ hugely. In Brindisi, for example, it’s prepared with Durham Wheat, served in thick slices and topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato and olives.
The real home of focaccia, however, is Liguria. It’s where this humble, unleavened bread hails from.
Here, it’s prepared in a large rectangular or round shape, cut into rectangular slabs and served hot. It’s thinner than other focaccia - usually around the height of a finger, with a fluffy centre and a crisp crust punctuated with lots of dimples to store lots of lovely extra-virgin olive oil and salt grains.
Usually eaten plain, as a snack or for breakfast, it’s not uncommon to see hordes of people leaving a focacceria at breakfast and lunchtime, clasping paper bags full of focaccia. Trying to buy the stuff at peak times can be quite an intimidating experience for the unsuspecting tourist and involves collecting ticket, waiting for your number to be called (much like Argos) and shouting out an order at a frantic attendant.
Even Liguria has its own variations of this delightful carby snack. Focaccia Genovese col Cippola is a popular alternative, served with a thick topping of onions. Melanzane (aubergine) is another popular topping, given the prevalence of the vegetable in the region. Focaccia di Recco col formaggio (read more here) is another entity altogether - paper thin, and filled with lashings of fresh stratchenza cheese. In Camogli, a thinner, crispier version is also on offer.