This bread is produced as part of an age-old tradition in the municipality of Montignoso and neighboring towns in the province of Massa-Carrara. Its production is linked to the traditional economy of the area, where maize meal was readily available and less expensive than wheat. White bread was a rarity reserved for holiday celebrations.
Moroccan bread is made using corn flour, wheat flour and yeast. First, mix the two types of flour with water and olive oil. Next, add black olives—either fresh or pickled. Then, add rosemary, garlic, sage, crushed red pepper and salt. Form round loaves (20-25 cm diameter). After they rise, bake until golden brown. This typical, tasty bread owes its unique flavor to the fact that it is baked in a wood-burning oven, over a bed of chestnut leaves. Traditionally, it was made from November to January, during the olive harvest, but now, it can be found in bakeries and shops throughout the year. It should be eaten fresh, either alone or with appetizers.
Before the war, the farmers of Montignoso would make homemade bread on Saturdays. ‘Morocco’ bread is made with olives and it’s baked over a bed of chestnut leaves. Studies regarding ‘Morocco Bread’ were carried out by Marcello Podestà, a great historian from Montignoso. He tells us that in 1642, Lucca’s Council of Elders granted permission to bake this type of bread. Thus, we can conclude that the recipe for ‘Morocco’ bread is at least 350 years old.
Article by the Comunità Montana dell’Alta Versilia