The definition of artisan sandwich was a subject of debate for the Ring at Taste: Alessandro Frassica (founder of the INO sandwich bar in Florence), Piero Gabrieli (marketing director for Molino Quaglia), Tommaso Mazzanti (owner of the Antico Vinaio in Florence) and Federica Casa (Casa Graziano, producer of Prosciutto di Parma). Moderated by Davide Paolini, the guests provided ideas and suggestions for how the sandwich is, apart from a meal, first and foremost a container of quality messages, a vehicle for spreading artisan products, flavours and excellences Made in Italy.
Not by chance is Florence the venue for debating the most conceptual aspects of the sandwich: Tuscany in general and Florence in particular are traditionally linked to the two slices of bread with something good in the middle. Not only is tripe sandwich a symbol of the city, but this region holds a record in terms of the ideal products to eat with bread: from finocchiona (salami with fennel) to pecorino cheese, from oil to vegetables. And if the number of sandwich bars in the city is growing as a fast-food alternative, the reason is also due to the fact that the sandwich today is the perfect answer to the needs of a consumer aware of time available, quality, health and taste. “Gourmet sandwich” is the name given to the version that holds its own when compared to the most refined of dishes, that has nothing to fear from the best traditional recipe, that takes no shortcuts when sourcing quality ingredients for its filling or the structure and flavour of its bread.
According to Gabrieli, the artisan sandwich is one with personality, subject to the variables that keep it far removed from industrial standardisation. The artisan sandwich is also a seasonal sandwich, its filling depending on tasty available products. In general the bread must have the flavour of its ingredients and must last, holding onto its aroma and taste for a long while.
Expectations are evolving (“Today clients ask many more questions about the kind of bread and products we use”, says Mazzanti), as is the sandwich, which in order to keep up with the times is adapting very flexibly to market trends. And the sandwich gives free rein to creativity and the need to be contemporary: it is also for this reason that Frassica has undertaken a path of research with experimentation into vegan and vegetarian recipes, proving that these are no longer “doing without” diets, but simply choices that keep creativity high and fully gratifies the palate.