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chickpea pie

Made of baked chick pea flour and olive oil, farinata di ceci is a favourite snack, especially in Genoa where it's called fainâ; in Sassari, Sardegna, it's sold as fainé genovese. Rosemary is the common flavouring, but it can be fancified up further with artichoke hearts, cheese, whitebait, onions, etc.

The rather apocryphal story goes it was invented after Genoa's great naval victory over its rival maritime republic, Pisa, after the 1284 Battle of Meloria, when the victorious fleet was sailing home, only to meet with some rough weather. The barrels of olive oil and chick pea flour broke open, and blended together with salt from the sea. The hungry sailors dried the mix in the sun and ate it. Another name for it is caldacalda.

In Tuscany, it's often known as torta di ceci or cecina and may be used as a focaccia filling (as Livorno's famous 5e5). On the French side of the Riviera, it's known as socca. In Gibraltar, it's calentita, the national dish.

bella calda in Tortona, Piedmont, is farinata with black pepper

farinata bianca made in Savona, uses wheat flour instead of chickpea.

farinata de Sante Paule is pumpkin and flour mashed up flavoured with pork, eaten on 25 January (the day of St Paul’s Conversion) in Campobasso, Molise.

Then there's Tuscany's farinata di cavolo nero, a thick vegetable soup made with Tuscan kale, beans, tomato paste, corn flour, etc that would become so thick after awhile you could cut slice it up and fry it.

Antipasti & Snacks




Pizzas, Focacce & Flatbreads


Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by MMChicago