The province of Ferrara is home to a type of bread with a rather unusual shape that resembles a cross or an ‘x’. This is PGI Coppia Ferrarese, the quintessential bread from Ferrara, which is made by joining two strips of dough with a central piece (coppia means ‘couple’).
The tips of the dough strips, which are coiled around themselves, look like four long croissants, which in dialect are known as crostini.
The first evidence of this coppia bread being served at Ferrara locals’ tables can be traced back to the 16th century. Legend has it that during a meal held in his honour, the duke of Este was served the ‘twisted bread’, with the typical croissant-shaped ‘crostini’. This was in 1536.
11 years later, Cristoforo da Messisbugo, steward (what today would be known as a servant or butler) to Prince Alfonso II, mentioned ‘twisted bread’ in a cost estimate, a sign that this product had by then become widespread.
The peculiar shape of PGI Coppia Ferrarese bread means it certainly won’t go unnoticed. But it is the ingredients used that make the PGI Coppia Ferrarese such a unique speciality: Italian type 0 wheat flour (lower in protein than other types), water, lard, extra virgin olive oil, sourdough starter, salt and malt, which are all added in precise amounts according to specifications.
Coppia Ferrarese is dry bread with a crusty texture; the only soft part of the bread, where the crumb can be found, is the central piece that joins the two croissant-shaped strips together. These attributes make it the perfect accompaniment to typical cold cuts from Ferrara, the PGI Salama da Sugo salami or for dunking in sauces and light broths.