The all-Italian tramezzino sandwich just turned 90. And it’s still looking, or rather, tasting, great.
Made with two pieces of white bread cut in the shape of a triangle with the crusts cut off, tramezzino is filled with all kinds of delicious treats, from the classic “prosciutto e formaggio” (ham and cheese) to the more fanciful, such as lobster tail, Barolo roast, vitel tonné, scampi cocktail, peppers with anchovies, and more.
The origins of tramezzino can be traced back to January 1926 at the Caffè Mulassano in Turin. The then-owners Angela and Onorino Nebiolo came up with the idea of using cold toast bread to be stuffed with sauces, meat, cold cuts and fish – a neutral base to enhance the filling. The perfect, quick-yet-tasty meal for workers on their lunch break.
The word “tramezzino,” which at first was called “paninetto,” is due to Italian writer and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio; one day, he was sitting inside the Caffé Mulassano enjoying an aperitivo accompanied by these sandwiches. He liked them so much he ordered another round, asking for more “tramezzini”. He said in fact that, observing their shape, they reminded him of the “tramezze” (partition walls) of his home in the countryside. Thus, the tramezzino was born.
In recent years, tramezzino has become increasingly popular as a lunchtime meal during the work week as Italians no longer have time for the traditional long lunch. According to a survey by Fipe Confcommercio, tramezzino is even more popular than pasta and pizza.