I praise the recent European Union's decision to grant piadina Protected Geographic Indication status (IGP in Italian or PGI in English) to safeguard it from poor quality imitations and fakes.
I am a native of Emilia-Romagna and therefore I may be a bit biased, but I think piadina is one of the most delectable dishes (yes, not just a snack) of Italian cuisine, especially when I think about the piadina made by my nonna, who, being from Rimini, really knew piadina - she of course prepared it from scratch (just like she did with tortellini and lasagna). I have never tasted a better piadina than the one she made!
For those of you not familiar with it, piadina (or piada) is a thin flatbread typical of Romagna, made with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt and water, and usually filled with prosciutto, squacquerone or stracchino cheeses, and arugula.
It is thought that piadina originated in Roman times, although the first written evidence of piadina as it is recognized today dates to 1371, when Cardinal Anglico provided the recipe for the “bread of the people of Romagna” in the Descriptio Romandiolae. The great Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli, who was born in San Mauro di Romagna, popularized the word piada, describing it as the “bread, no, the national food of the Romagnoli”.
The IGP certification means that the piadina is now recognized for its importance as a traditional and quality food and will be receiving formal protection.
The IGP designation, along with the even stricter Denomination of Origin (DOP in Italian or PDO in English) trademark, is used to protect some of Italy's most iconic products, such as Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar, which are also typical of the Emilia Romagna region.
Under EU law, in order to be granted the IGP or DOP seal, products must abide by strict production regulations and geographical restrictions. Italy has the highest number of such food designations, but is constantly fighting the sale of counterfeit products.
You can find the best piadina in Romagna, but if you’re not anywhere near, you can try making it at home with ITALY Magazine’s recipe, available here.