The Marseille sandwich: history of bread between France and Naples

by Federico Quagliuolo

From the Angevin kings to the baker sandwiches downstairs: Provence and Campania share stories of food and culture that still today bring the two shores of the Mediterranean closer together in the most unthinkable ways. The Marseille sandwich it is one of the most interesting points of contact, right under our hands.

It is very famous in Naples and in Salerno, two port cities that, not surprisingly, are linked to Marseille. And it is right in the boulangerie of the French capital that this type of bread is born.

Pane marsigliese
The Marseille bread from Salerno and Naples

From Pain Fendu to the Marseille sandwich

It all starts with the pain fendu, which is a small version of the typical French bread. In Marseille, in fact, it served as accompaniment of the bouillabaisse, the typical fish soup of the city, and has a particularly soft dough that clashes in the mouth with the shiny and crunchy crust.

Also there form del panino napoletano is shared with its French colleague: apparently, in fact, sIt seems that there are two loaves attached to each other: in reality the dough, before being baked, is crushed in the center, in such a way as to create two lobes. That's how the term "fendu", Which in French means"cut, broken“.

pain fendu provenzale marsigliese
The Provencal Pain Fendu

How did the Marseillaise sandwich from Provence get to Naples?

The hypotheses are different and none of these have historical documentation, being a bakery product of popular origin. The disciplinary of the Campania Region, in fact, he claims that the Marseillaise is a bread produced in Campania for at least "25 years" (having been written in the early 2000s, it refers to 1980). The certainty is that it is a lot easy justify the culinary exchange between Marseille and Naples, which are two of the most active ports in the Mediterranean for at least 8 centuries.
The main suspects are two: the Angevins, of French origin and lords of Provence, e Napoleon.

Regarding the Angevin origin of the Marseille sandwich, despite the fact that relations between Marseille and Naples were very close in the Middle Ages, it is doubtful: it is strange that no author has ever talked about it in all the following centuries. On the other hand, the twenty Napoleonic years, with Joachim Murat king of Naples: in this case it is much more probable that the contacts between the French sailors in the port and the Neapolitans and Salerno have “contaminated” the local recipes with this typically French preparation. Thus, even in Naples and Salerno you can eat excellent French bread.

References:
disciplinary of the Campania Region

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1 Comment

Melina 7 October 2022 - 18:24

Il pane marsigliese, si prepara da più di 25 anni, io ne ho 61 e, ricordo, il panino con la ricotta di fuscella, venduto da ambulanti, avevo all’incirca 6 , 7 anni, i miei primi ricordi, il ricottaro con la cesta sotto al braccio con intorno infilzati i panini marsigliesi, e sotto una candida tovaglia le fuscelle con la ricottella quella gelatinosa, con un lieve sentore di buccia dil imone. Quindi , facendo i dovuti calcoli, il panino marsigliese si produce a Napoli da 55 anni, ed anche di più , perchè era anche il ricordo dei miei genitori , che ormai non ci sono più ed avrebbero rospettivamente , 98 e 103 anni

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