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history, legends and where he was born

We all use it because it is versatile, good, and allows you to eat with a few euros: the White bread. This particular bread can be used at different times of the day: at lunch for a sandwich, at breakfast and as a snack with spreads, at dinner for a toast, endless ideas for the most delicious appetizers. However, few know that around this type of bread there is aunbelievable urban legend which for years has been depopulated on the web and in the squares of Turin, the city to which the paternity of this product is attributed. Let’s see together the story, true and presumed, of bread.

The legend of the executioner

The best known reconstruction takes us to the Torino of 1800. It seems that this bread was widespread in the Piedmontese capital and it is for this reason that the bakers of the city have invented the sandwich. The birth of bread would be due to the resentful envy of bakers Piedmontese from annoy the executioners from the city. We would like to point out that it’s just a legend and combines historical events, real people, fictional characters and popular stories.


According to this legend, the protagonist would be Piero Pantoni, the last executioner of Turin. Citizens hate him, not only for the work he does, but also for his standard of living: the executioners of the 19th century they earn a lot. The average salary of a university professor is around 1,000 lire per yearthe executioner wins it 2,000 in fixed part in addition it has a number of prime: 21 lire for each hanging, 36 lire for each rendering and any tips. People hate it, they can’t stand anyone doing this job, even if it’s a job public administration since the death penalty is in force. The contempt for the figure of Pantoni, among others one of the rare executioners known to find a wifeturns into a series of rudeness by the citizens.

The proximity of the French border would have put Turin and Parisians in contact: the spilled bread is a sign of great contempt for the customer. In France the executioners protested to the king who in response issued a very threatening edict against the population, in Italy, on the other hand, the administrators issued a decree formally prohibiting the practice. At this point, the bakers they get even more angry: not only do they kill people for money but must they also be protected by politicians? They devise a plan and invent it to circumvent the decision of the city authorities a brick-shaped loaf, the same above and below, so that no one can complain anymore. Piero Pantoni would therefore have continued to receive the bread “upside down” but he does not know it and lives serenely.

The real story of bread

In all of this, it pains us to say, the only thing really Turin and the bread name: pancarré is actually a Piedmontese term that derives from the French “square of painliterally translated as “square bread” literary translation but it’s Doc of Turin: in France there is no trace of this term or this bread. No document prior to 1900 attests to the presence of this product in France or in the rest of Europe. The same Braids he has been talking about it for years and according to the famous encyclopedia pancarré is used in Italy but absolutely unknown in France.


His birth is “assigned” to Piedmont because of the namebut here too we should discuss: They do not exist official conclusions which confirm the Piedmontese paternity of the bread. The same legend we told also has another version that places it in 1391 below Amadeus VIII of Savoy, the last “antipope”. L

The question of official documents is important but not always fundamental: in the past the bureaucracy was not as precise as today and often the history of products is lost in time. This rarely happens in historical duchies like that of Savoy or like Benevento, Parma, bologna, cities experiencing fairly stable political situations even in the most tumultuous periods of Italian history. So how do we get back to the product story? Usually we refer to the novels and have paintingsto trials and the old recipe books. Good, not even in this case we find the bread.

The most important work of Turinese gastronomy is “Turin described” of Pietro Barico (Alexander’s great-grandfatheror, famous author of our time): in the essay, dated 1869we are talking about breadsticks, bread, torcetti and canestrelli, no bread, even less sandwich bread. To be picky, bread is also missing from the list of typical products of the Province of Turin to save, where we find the other elements described by Baricco. If you go to a Turinese bakery you won’t find any trace of bread homemade, if not in the most advanced, so to speak “contemporary”, which make many types of bread, with a lot of research and different qualities of flour. Nothing to do with tradition.

The first official documentation actually about the bread it’s not italianlove american: in the 1917 doctor Otto Frederick Rohwedder invents a machine for slicing bread in an industrial way, a machine which would have been put on the market in 1928same period when I Mulassano introduce the public to the first sandwiches in our history. So where does pancarré come from? No one knows, it is also possible that this bread so associated with Italy was born directly in America and came to us thanks to exchanges between traders, immigrants and the military.

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