The Piadina Romagnola PGI or Piada Romagnola PGI is a traditional Romagna product made with soft wheat flour, water, fats and salt. This ready-to-eat product is made in two different-sized typologies: Piadina Romagnola and Piadina Romagnola alla Riminese.
The production area of Piadina Romagnola PGI is within the administrative territory of the provinces of Rimini, Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna and several municipalities in the Province of Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region.
The dough for the Piadina Romagnola PGI is obtained by mixing and kneading soft wheat flour, salt, fats (olive oil, extra virgin olive oil or lard) and any leavening agents with water. The mixture is subsequently divided into different-sized blocks or balls, depending on the desired size of the flatbread. The blocks are rolled by hand, using a rolling pin, or mechanically until the dough assumes the form of a disk. These are then cooked on a griddle, on both sides, at a temperature of between 200 and 250° C, for a maximum total of four minutes. After cooking, the product is either served directly or packaged immediately after cooling, in heat-sealed bags or sleeves with a modified atmosphere.
Appearance and Flavour
The Piadina Romagnola PGI is round and flat, with a diameter of between 15 and 25 cm. It is ivory-white in colour, with distinctive uniform amber-coloured markings of various sizes and shades on both sides. The consistency is firm and flaky. It has a fragrant taste and smell, with an aroma similar to that of freshly baked bread. The Riminese typology is thinner, softer and less firm, with a diameter of 23 to 30 cm and larger, more uneven markings.
Symbol of the Romagna gastronomy, the Piadina Romagnola PGI has a reputation that dates back to the XIV century, although Vergil mentioned something similar in The Seventh Book of the Aeneis, describing a thin disk that was eaten toasted. Flatbread was traditionally baked between one batch of bread and another, when bread was baked once a week, and over the centuries it has gone from being “bread for the poor” - quick and unleavened - to a widely consumed product. Known in Romagna dialect as piè, it got its current name thanks to Giovanni Pascoli’s poem La Piada (Nuovi Poemetti), in which the poet defines it as the “bread of humanity.”
Piadina Romagnola PGI is generally eaten folded in half and filled with various ingredients, the most traditional being charcuterie and cured meats from the Romagna region, cheeses, especially Squacquerone di Romagna PDO, and vegetables. The product can also be filled with sweet ingredients, such as chocolate, honey and marmalade.
The product is marketed year-round in the typologies Piadina Romagnola PGI and Piadina Romagnola PGI alla Riminese. It is sold ready-to-eat or in heat-sealed bags or sleeves with a modified atmosphere.
In its most artisan form, the Piadina Romagnola PGI can be found at the numerous food kiosks that are characteristic of the production area. Since the 1970s, these small wooden kiosks, usually decorated with vertical stripes, have spread across the region. The flatbreads are processed on-site by hand, and cooked on griddles or testi (similar to a round pizza pan), which are traditionally made of clay and produced, according to traditional artisan methods, in Montetiffi, a small mountain town in Romagna.