France is the ultimate place to locate bread of the finest, and tastiest, quality. Other than the typical French stick, what other bread does this glorious country have to offer? Fougasse is another popular choice and is enjoyed by many due to its unique texture and array of extra ingredients.
For the next piece in our ‘Made in’ series, we are going to explore Fougasse, where it comes from and the different types for you to try on your next holiday.
What is Fougasse?
Fougasse is a delicious flatbread that originates, and is commonly linked to the beautiful region of Provence, France. The bread usually takes creative form in lovely leaf, or sheath of wheat, shape pattern. During the baking process, areas of dough are cut out for the functional purpose of allowing the bread to bake at a faster time than others. This trait also makes the bread a natural food to share in a group, as parts of it break of effortlessly.
The attraction of Fougasse comes from its exceptionally crusty texture and makes for a delectably crunchy eating experience. For the best tasting experience, it should be eaten on the day of the bake. Its distinctive crustiness differentiates from its sister bread, such as Italy’s ever-popular focaccia.
A Brief History of Fougasse
The ancient Romans created Fougasse. The Panis focacius was a flatbread derived from the Romans and produced in the hot ashes of a hearth, heated by burning wood. The quick cooking bread developed into measurement for Roman bakers to test the heat of ovens to know if it was warm enough to bake other bread. The bread quickly spread in popularity throughout Europe and took on many adaptations, including focaccia in Italy.
What Makes a Good Fougasse?
The necessary ingredients included in a Fougasse are olive oil, flour, water, salt and yeast. Just before the baking of the bread, it is covered with delicious chopped herbs. It is usually included in an appetiser spread, served with cheese, meat and, not forgetting, some fantastic wine. It also serves as an excellent serving suggestion alongside meals needing a little help soaking up tasty sauces, such as tomato-based pasta or ratatouille.
Additional ingredients to include in Fougasse are open to many variations. By definition, it is a loaf of bread, but also considered as a sandwich due to the many filling ingredients that can be included inside. Olive, nuts, goats cheese, Roquefort and dried fruit are typical embellishments. When bacon and cheese are added amongst the folds of dough, it is also considered a French take on Italian calzone.
What are the Different Types of Fougasse?
As mentioned, there are many types and takes of Fougass throughout Europe. In France, there are five specific ones people enjoy and are well known. Fougasse à l’Anchois is a popular one, completed with anchovy paste. For Fougasse with pork crackling, keep an eye out for Fougasse aux Gratillions. If you fancy a slightly Mediterranean take on the bake, look out for the name Fougasse aux Olives Noires. You don’t have to speak French to know this is Fougasse with black olives! Pompe à l’Huile is usually served at Christmas dinner and is completed with olive oil and a scatter of icing sugar. Finally, Fougasse aux Fromage is complete with gruyere cheese.
Where Can I Get Hold of a Fougasse?
Fougasse is often sold in bakeries. The preferred, and original, take on Fougasse is from Provence and as previously mentioned, bears similarity to focaccia. Other areas throughout Europe have their version of the much-loved bread. For example, in Angers, France, Fougasse is produced with a more chewable texture. In Venice, Fougasse has been adapted with a sweet twist on the original recipe and compared to a sweet type of focaccia.
That concludes our breakdown of the delicious French delicacy, Fougasse. Hopefully, we have informed you about everything you need to know. For the most authentic tasting experience, wake up in one of our luxury holiday villas in the French Riviera to enjoy the freshest baked bread on your next getaway to France! For more food inspiration, take a look at our blog on Four Markets in the South of France for the best places to find the freshest food in the region!