Carchiola Bread

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Carchiola is a traditional bread from Lucania that has long been the staple diet of farming families. It is a product defined as ‘poor’ because it is unleavened bread made from maize: bread made from wheat or grain was a luxury item, destined for the tables of landowners and nobles. Those who worked the land usually got bread made from a mixture of barley, pulses, rye and fodder.

The preparation of the carchiola was a task carried out by the women of the house: the maize flour was mixed with boiling water to form a homogeneous dough. From this, smaller pieces were made, which were then flattened into a circular shape. This was cooked over the embers of the fireplace at home, placing it on a circular grill (r’ticula), which had a pivot in the centre so that it could be turned without moving it from the fire.
Carchiola was eaten for breakfast or as an accompaniment to some traditional country dishes: vegetable soups, minestra maritata (legumes and wild chicory) or kale soups. Because of its dry consistency, it was preferred to be used with ‘baganti’ dishes.
It was also served in one large dish with vegetables, from which everyone drank. In the past, the men, who were all employed as farmers, would remove the carchiola from the embers once it was cooked and place it in a handkerchief which they would then take with them to work in the fields.

Today, the carchiola is being rediscovered as a product of Lucanian gastronomic heritage, but a street food version of it is emerging which is different in its gastronomic use: in fact, it is sold as a kind of piadina (flat bread) stuffed with salami and cheese. In some villages in Basilicata, such as Avigliano, it is still possible to find women making the traditional carchiola at home and then selling it in the narrow streets or taking it to restaurants that are keen to promote local gastronomy.

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Production area:Avigliano Municipality (Potenza province)

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Bread and baked goods