Sunday, August 3, 2014

the great focaccia/pizza challenge

It was my last week of camp, and my last week in Lucca. There was only one thing left to do. Try all the best focaccia.

I had read various things about two bakeries in Lucca as having the best focaccia, and damnit, I was going to eat it.  After camp I rode my bike into town and stopped at my first bakery, right off piazza St. Michele. It was Forno A Vapore Amedeo Guisti. A mouthful in several respects. The window beckoned me, filled with a diverse group of fresh focaccia. The man inside told me what each kind was, and I chose the onion. I don’t know why, it just spoke to me. 

He cut me what I told him I wanted was a “small” piece, and it cost me just under 1 Euro. A cheap snack! All wrapped up and ready to go, the oil seeped through the paper just a bit and I couldn’t wait to eat it. I meandered through the streets crunching into this perfect carb goodness. It was crispy and salted on the outskirts, and soft with delicious onions in the middle. I could see why this is considered one of the best places to get fresh focaccia.

Now I was far to full to embark on bakery number two, so I waited a couple of days.  This bakery was a little harder to find. Tucked away on a side street, I located Forno F. Casali. It was definitely more of a locals place, and I was excited. I opted for the plain focaccia this time (just oil and salt) and she informed me in Italian if I waited five minutes there would be a fresh piece. I would’ve waited 30. It came out and she cut me a piece and wrapped it up. This too was only about a Euro. I could feel the heat coming through the wrapper and I knew I was lucky to have stopped in at the right time to score a piece of focaccia fresh from the oven. I sat on a stoop on the quiet side street and tried it out. It was delicious too, obviously. It was warm, crispy and I didn’t want it to end.

Since I was already heavily involved in carb fest 2014, I decided to also try the one pizza place I was dying to try before I left. It had rave reviews. Pizzeria Da Felice was busy. 

I ordered a slice (which is really two) of the salami pizza and a birre, and sat outside on a bench. The crust was very thin, crispy, and the ingredients fresh. 

It was fantastic. The couple next to me admired my salami..they went in for a second piece to try it! They were great company, from Australia, and we chatted about Lucca. I told them of my plans to travel after camp was done and they gave me some great suggestions, since they too had visited some of my planned stops! My hips may suffer, but my itinerary would prosper. Seemed like a fair trade.

Disclaimer.. what makes it the great focaccia/pizza challenge is not determined by quantity, but how delicious it all was...

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