Piadina is a historic flat bread famous in Emilia Romangna, especially in the eastern part along the Adriatic, were it’s most revered and they call it Piadina Romagnola. You wrap it around all manner of foods. It beats a generic Italian panino hands down. Like panino, a piadina is both the name for the bread and for the finished
sandwich like thing product.
Sure, the middle east has pita. But Piadina Romagnola isn’t the only flatbread you’ll find along your travels in the boot. As I sit here in my waterlogged Lunigiana, I begin to think of the long arc of flatbreads that start here in the towns of Aulla and Podenzana with panigacci, an unleavened flatbread cooked on a hot terra cotta form, proceeds through the rest of northern Tuscany where it picks up leavening and becomes focaccette, then travels to the Adriatic coast where animal fat (like lard) or, in modern times, olive oil gets incorporated and it becomes piadina. In each case you can munch on them alone or stuffed with all manner of meats, cheeses and other spreadable things.
The search for fab Piadina in Rimini starts when you pass through the Arch of Augustus marking the terminus of the Via Flaminia, as seen above. You’re soon walking through the ancient Roman Forum, which really lies a meter and a half below your feet. You keep pressing forward until you pass over the equally ancient Tiberius Bridge, where you find yourself in the historic neighborhood of Borgo San Giuliano. Fishermen lived here once, proud and poor since the medieval. When a house changed hands to another, it was recorded in a plaque. Federico Fellini loved the place, and murals are painted on the walls that evoke his cinematic work, like the one to the right.
If you are lucky you will land at a place you will think too modern to seriously host a beloved historic food. And the name! Well, I will give it to you straight: NudeCrud.
Would you eat there? If the answer is no, then I feel for you, for you have erred in a sinful way.
If you can’t find a Piadina Romagnola stuffed with something you like here you’re a seriously finicky eater. I mean, there’s even one made with squid ink. You can get the house version of a hamburger, Rimini style. It’s all good, exotic or no.
You see, the ingredients are all local. I like it when you sit down and ask the waiter where they get the lamb and he says something like, “Giuseppe from the neighborhood has a slice of land on the east side of town and has a small flock that gets the best treatment in the world and we’ve been getting his lamb for 37 years…”
So you know you’re not getting a hamburger full of disguised tendons washed in ammonia. Look here:
Farine biologiche tradizionali, al farro e al Kamut del Mulino ad acqua Ronci, l’unico con macine in pietra e grani dell’alto Montefeltro
That means they use flour that’s organic and traditional, made from farro and kamut, the farro is milled in the mountains of Montefeltro by a traditional stone mill.
They call it chilometro zero a chilometro vero, true and local food. And we’re talking about what Americans call a “wrap”. We don’t expect organic, because it’s just a sandwich; we expect too little.
So you have found it, you have discovered Roman Rimini, and you’ve done it all in an evening. Have a beer (they have lots of artisan beers) or a glass of wine. And several piadine.
The fact that they are mighty tasty is in what you don’t see on this page. A picture. I was too busy eating.