Buona Bruschetta!

December 7, 2011 / Food & Wine
Tuscany, Italy

From mid-October to the end of December everybody in Tuscany gets ready for their first bruschetta (pronounced “broo-SKET-ta“) of the season. Hard to find a simpler dish than an autumn bruschetta. At this time of the year you won’t find any fresh tomatoes or basil on it. Just the essentials: a slice of bread and a generous serving of Tuscany’s peppery Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

There are two rites of passage to your first bruschetta of the olive picking season. The first is by eating it right at the frantoio (mill/press), literally fresh from the olive press. Nothing nicer after a long week of olive picking and the resulting backache, than that welcoming smile and a lovely slice of bread dripping with the frantoio’s freshly pressed green oil.

Then there is the variazione del tema (lit., variation of the theme). To taste your new oil in all of its shades, it’s an imperative to repeat the procedure first thing you arrive back home. A few slices of bread are toasted on the fire or in the oven, before you drizzle the green golden liquid on top of the toasted bread. Once you’ve tasted it the essential way, you are free to add a bit of salt, or swipe the bread with a clove of garlic before pouring the oil on it. Obviously with so simple a dish, the ingredients have to be of prime quality. Nevertheless be generous with the oil.

After the first bite of bruschetta covered in your very own oil, you’ll remember why the olive presser’s farewell wasn’t any of the usual greetings. A simple Ciao or Arrivederci won’t do. There is only one salute adequate to the sacredness of this moment – Buona Bruschetta!

Katja Meier

by Katja Meier

Katja Meier, Swiss miss for anything Tuscan – wine, food, culture, art and beaches – basically anything that will sort out that Renaissance hangover. She blogs about  Southern Tuscany in general and Siena and Montalcino in particular. 

7 Responses to “Buona Bruschetta!”

    • Maureen,
      Fettunta is above all a Tuscan term, made up of two words: Fetta meaning slice (of bread) and unta meaning greasy (from the oil).

      Fettunta is always just a slice of bread with olive oil. Whereas Bruschetta can be done with lots of different toppings – but the bread always HAS to be toasted for a Bruschetta recipe.

  1. giuseppe spano (jojo)
    giuseppe spano (jojo)

    To answer the question , The region in which you are in at time of enjoyment (fett’unta) But as far as Buona Bruschetta at that time of year The quality of olio is most important, yet not to miss the completeness of this pleasure The pane it is drizzled on is also a vital ingredient.

  2. Anne Robichaud

    …..and wondering if the yield down in Tuscany this year, too, due to an inordinately hot summer.
    I would guess so..
    Most of our farm neighbors picked about 30% less.
    Our yield> maybe 50% less (but then again, we did not fertilize with our donkey and sheep manure this year as we should have….)

    • Anne, interestingly enough our 2011 yield has been better than the one the year before – never mind the dry summer. But I’ve seen it changing from olive grove to olive grove all through Southern Tuscany.


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