Soft and flavorful on the inside and with a crispy tart on the outside … If you’ve already tasted Italian bread, then it won’t surprise you to know that Italians consume a lot of it. Even if it is not Italy that holds the record in this: in Europe, Romanians eat bread the most.
In Italy we eat just over 3.88 ounces (110 grams) of bread per day. It is the average consumption of Italians (90 pounds – 41 kilos of bread each year). A figure that places us behind the other main European countries (surprisingly).
The first bread consumer in the EU is Romania, with 88 kilos per capita per year, followed by Germany (80 kilos every year), to continue with the Netherlands (57 kilos), Poland (52 kilos), Spain (47 kilos), France (44 kilos) and the United Kingdom (43 kilos per capita).
If you go to an Italian restaurant in Italy, you will always find a basket filled with a selection of savory bakery products to accompany the meal. Among these various treats, you can usually find sliced bread of any type (whole meal, rye, white bread, etc.), bread rolls, taralli, and breadsticks.
In this article, we try to give a precise answer to all your curiosities about the consumption of bread in Italy.
How much bread do Italians eat?
In Italy, a person eats on average about 3.88 ounces (110 grams) of bread per day (41 kg of bread per person per year), so 3 slices of bread a day on average according to the Association of Industrial Millers of Italy. In the 1950s, the consumption of bread was much higher, but over the years it has decreased because Italians’ eating habits have changed over time.
Today, in fact, there is a lot of misinformation about food and many of these condemn diets rich in cereals and invite people to decrease the consumption of bread. Actually, many of these are fake news, because whole grains, together with fruit, vegetables, and legumes are the basis of a balanced diet, according to the Italian guidelines for proper nutrition.
Italian nutritionists are therefore trying to re-evaluate fresh bread because this food is very rich in nutrients and it can’t be identified as a cause of weight gain.
Do Italians eat bread in every meal?
Yes, they do, 84% of Italians habitually consume bread, while only 16% of respondents said they do not consume bread or consume it occasionally. The main reason for excluding bread from the diet is of a dietary and healthy nature.
Bread is a very versatile food and Italians have the possibility to include it in every meal. For example, a popular breakfast in Italy consists of fresh bread with jam and butter.
At lunch and dinner, bread always accompanies the main course or a salad, while Italians usually don’t eat bread together with pasta, potatoes, or pizza, to avoid eating too many carbohydrates in a single meal.
Why do Italians like bread so much?
To answer this question, it is necessary to know that bread in Italy has a very ancient history, dating back to the Holy Roman Empire, in ancient Rome bread began to become an important food from 168 BC.
In the following centuries, Rome became a really important city for the sale of bread; numerous shops were opened and the crafts of the miller and baker arose, giving life to the white art handed down from father to son..
Italians love bread because it’s great food and it can be the main character of a quick lunch or dinner. It can easily turn into toasts, sandwiches, bruschetta, fresella, panini or it can be added to salads as croutons.
You don’t have to forget that Italian bread smells and tastes delicious. To date, in Italy, there are about 250 types of bread that change according to the region. Bakeries make different kinds of fresh bread every day using white flour, wholemeal flour, and mother yeast.
What kind of bread do Italians eat the most?
According to the survey conducted by the Association of Industrial Millers of Italy, Italians appreciate white bread, followed by wholemeal bread, durum wheat bread, and multigrain flour bread.
In the pantry of an Italian kitchen, sandwich bread can’t miss too! It is very convenient for preparing toast, sandwiches, or quick canapés for your happy hours.
What kind of bread do Italian restaurants serve?
Italian restaurants serve different types of bread, depending on the region they are based. For example, in Liguria you can find some sliced focaccia in the bread basket, taralli and sliced Altamura bread if you are in Puglia, and in Piedmont some Turin breadsticks. High-end restaurants usually serve their own home-baked bread rolls.
What are the names of popular Italian bread?
In Italy, there are many types of bread. Here are the most common:
- ciabatta bread;
- rosetta bread;
- Mafalda bread;
- pitta calabrese;
- pane carasau (from Sardinia);
- focaccia bread;
- Tuscan bread;
- Altamura bread (from Puglia);
- bread with olives.
Their preparations are characterized by different leavening methods, different kinds of flours, and the use of oil or other fats, such as lard.
How much does bread cost in Italy?
Unfortunately, the price of bread has never been higher in Italy. A kg of bread costs between 3 and 5 euros, depending on the area and the city you consider. The price also varies depending on the type of bread. Panfocaccia, bread with olives or potatoes has a higher price per kg due to the heavy topping.
Do Italians eat freshly baked bread or packaged varieties?
Italians love fresh bread, 85% of the bread purchased in Italy is fresh artisan bread
and they usually consume it at every meal, but in Italian supermarkets, you can easily find also sandwich bread and other packaged varieties, such as:
- toast bread;
- hamburger buns;
- hot dog buns;
- bruschetta bread;
Surely this type of bread does not find space every day on the tables of Italian consumers but it is very useful at parties, picnics, and barbecues.
Despite the rise in flour prices, bread still occupies a very important place in the eating habits of Italians due to its unique flavor and nutritional properties. On your next trip to Italy, in addition to the classic typical dishes, don’t forget to try all the different varieties of bread!