Bread of Calabria: a journey through artisan excellence

Discovering traditional Calabrian bread: supply chain, characteristics and places of production

© Regione Calabria

Food and wine

If you love the smell of warm, homemade bread, follow us on a journey to discover the bread of Calabria, a product that has all the flavour of tradition.

Calabrian bread is the centuries-old product that expresses better than any other the ancient bond with the land and the family gestures of communities. In ancient times, Calabrian bread was baked in communal ovens and only a few families could afford the luxury of white bread, made with wheat flour, while most were forced to eat dark bread, made with chestnut or rye flour.

Over time, bread-making has become a true ritual, expressing a series of territorial excellences that make Calabrian bread a precious food, a symbol of tradition at the table, certified by supply chain brands.

Cerchiara Bread

Our journey through the bread of Calabria starts from the town of Cerchiara, in the province of Cosenza, in the Pollino National Park.

Not by chance elected "City of Bread" and selected by Slow Food, Cerchiara di Calabria is famous for its traditional bread. What is so special about Cerchiara bread? Recognised in the Calabrian food chain with the De.Co. (Municipal Designation of Origin) mark, this fragrant bread is baked in the traditional oven and has a coarse shape due to slow cooling. The secret of proper baking gives the dough the unmistakable fragrance and aroma of Cerchiara bread.

After having tasted it in combination with good typical Pollino products (for example the Calabrian cured meats PDO from this area), those who want to know more about the renowned Cerchiara bread can visit the special Bread and Rural Civilisation Museum. Housed in a 19th-century mill, right in the centre of town, the museum exhibits tools related to ancient bread-making, period photos and life-size reproductions of the production phases, as well as a projection room.

Regione Calabria

Cutro Bread

The journey of discovery of Calabrian bread proceeds in a south-easterly direction, in the province of Crotone, where we stop to taste the renowned Cutro bread.

Bread has always been a traditional excellence in Cutro: made from durum wheat semolina, soft wheat flour, natural yeast, water and salt, Cutro bread is shaped like a round or elongated loaf, weighing about 500 grams. It is naturally leavened and baked in a wood-fired oven. The characteristics that make it so tasty and give it the De.Co. mark are the thick and crispy crust, the porous crumb, the long-lasting freshness and the typical golden yellow colour.

The ideal pairings with the typical products of the Crotone and Marchesato areas are those that evoke the area's dual sea/mountain value: i.e. Pecorino Crotonese PDO and Sardella Crotonese PAT (Traditional Agrifood Product), the spicy spreadable sauce made from whitebait.

Pane di Cutro
Regione Calabria

Canolo Bread

We conclude our journey into the fragrant world of Calabrian bread in the province of Reggio Calabria, precisely in Canolo, a municipality in the Aspromonte National Park, famous for several traditional specialities, such as the Suino Nero di Calabria PAT (Aspromontana breed) and, indeed, the unmistakable Canolo bread.

Why unmistakable? Because it is still made from the now rare ergot, the same rye that once, consumed in large quantities, could cause hallucinogenic effects. Today, Canolo bread, known locally as jermànu bread (the dialect name for rye), is a Slow Food Presidium and among the most sought-after typical products.

Here, the best accompaniment is with a fine platter of Aspromonte sliced meats, from the aforementioned pork to the delicious Caprino Aspromontano PAT.

Regione Calabria

Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 14, 2024 10:14 AM