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Seasoning Milan Bread Dipping

Ingredients: Tomato, onion, garlic, black pepper, tarragon and basil
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Dipping your bread in an olive oil mixture is a familiar ritual in Greece and in some parts of Italy. An olive oil bread dipping "sauce" may be just olive oil alone or a combination of olive oil and different spices and culinary herbs. While originating in Greece and Italy, the practice of dipping your bread in olive oil seems to be most popular in the US.

In most parts of Italy it's a fairly rare occurrence to regularly find a bowl of olive oil placed on a restaurant table. This would generally be considered a waste of premium quality oil as Italians don’t typically have bread as an appetizer to their meals. Most Italians also seem to have a bit of a phobia in eating anything out of a communal bowl. The exception to this "rule"  of mixing bread and olive oil is right after the harvest when the fresh olives have been cold pressed into that season’s olive oil. During this time you’re more likely to find Italians sampling the newest olive oil offerings in a restaurant. But these events more resemble a wine tasting as they are typically sampling pure olive oil for flavor characteristics. Bread may sometimes be used during these taste testings, but not always.

There is some debate among foodies in our country as to where the practice of dipping bread started in the US. Bread dipping "sauces" tend to be either an olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix or an olive oil and bread dipping seasoning. Some believe New York was on the cutting edge of this practice but the majority of serious food lovers remember discovering this delicacy in some of San Francisco's nicer Italian restaurants.

That seems pretty typical of us Americans. We take something that started somewhere else (in this case the Mediterranean), put an American spin on it to make it uniquely our own and then run with it (like we did with Tex-Mex and later California’s Pan-Asian fusion cuisine)!

Our first bread dipping seasoning was our Tuscany Bread Dipping. This has proven to be incredibly popular with both our wholesale Gourmet Food Market and Olive Oil Shop customers as well as home chefs who do a great deal of entertaining.

As this seasoning blend went from trendy to one of our best selling seasoning blends we’ve received numerous requests to create additional bread dipping olive oil blends. Oh how we enjoy new seasoning challenges. So after a great deal of testing in our facility (our staff always loves it when we test new blends out on them) we’ve come up with our Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning.

Italians have high standards for their bread. It's not uncommon for them to allow the yeast to fully rise over several hours, which leaves a thin crust. Italians place great importance on the size of their loaves of bread as each family member needs to get their fair share. Italians prefer their bread to have a moist and soft interior, which is perfect for absorbing olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes and other toppings.

While Rome may be Italy's political capital, Milan is the country's industrial and financial capital. It's also home to some of Italy's largest companies, including Alfo Romeo and Pirelli. Similar to New York, it's also a culinary hub, attracting some of the most talented chefs in Europe. The local Milanese are able to experience these innovative new chefs with their exotic flavors. But the more traditional Milanese cuisine is also remarkably gratifying and invites friends and family to gather around the table and spend some leisurely time together to enjoy delightful Italian comfort food.

Our Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning was inspired by the people of Milan who love their bread and their slow paced meals.

To make your own exceptional olive oil seasoning dip, mix 3 tablespoons Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning with 1/2 cup of your favorite olive oil. You can absolutely adjust this with more or less seasoning to suite the tastes of your friends and family. Once mixed we like to let it set for about 30 minutes prior to using as that allows the seasonings to fully marry with the olive oil.

You can also use this seasoning for a zippy vinegar and oil dressing for salads by mixing 3 tablespoons of Sicilian Bread Dipping Seasoning with 2/3 cups olive oil and 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (we feel that balsamic vinegar overwhelms the Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning when used in this manner). You can also use this dressing as a simple, light marinade for chicken, fish or pork. Marinate chicken or pork for 2-4 hours and fish 30 minutes prior to cooking.

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