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flat bread

A thick, pizza-like sheet of bread, baked in the oven, this has been a staple since Roman times (from 'focus', a fireplace) and it may go back even further, to the Greeks and Etruscans. In its simplest version, seasoned with olive oil and herbs, it is associated with Liguria, which claims to make the best (notably the tangy prescinsêua-or stracchino- filled focaccia di Recco, one of the jewels of the Riviera).

Every region has its own versions of this versatile dish—not to mention the fougasse of southern France or the pan de hogaza of Spain. Foccacie are especially popular in the south; in Sicily they might take the form of a thick Sicilian pizza, or be made into sandwiches. In Basilicata, they make focaccia a brazzud, with lard, pork cracklings and oregano. In the mountains of Friuli they make paaca-- a cornmeal focaccia with milk and butter and bogara, a sweet focaccia made with sultanas.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Roland Tanglao