“Pane in Piazza”: the city centre of Mestre turned into a bakery for two days

24 September 2021

Venice, 24th September 2021 – The most famous bread in the world? The French baguette, for sure, although in Venice the typical “rosetta” is the most famous handmade bread. It’s the symbol of peace, of hunger and richness. Considered as a basic food in several cultures, its history dates back to at least ten thousand years ago. Although simple, bread is essential on the tables of all civilizations and for this, it will be the main character of the third edition of “Pane in Piazza” which will be held in Piazza Ferretto on Saturday September 25th and on Sunday September 26th. The funds raised will be completely donated to Anfass. This year, the event – promoted by Confcommercio Mestre with the Associazione dei Panificatori di Venezia e Provincia, in partnership with the Municipality of Venice, Vela, the Chamber of Commerce and Confcommercio Unione Metropolitana di Venezia – will be full dedicated to the 1600 years of Venice.

“We decided to organize this event not only to let people know all different kinds of bread, but especially to show them how bread is created and so what usually happens inside laboratories, through the process of bread-making- explains Massimo Gorghetto, the president of Confcommercio Mestre, of the association Panificatori di Venezia e Provincia e Veneto (Bakers Association of Venice Province and Veneto Region) –. Craftsmanship, with its manual skills, always attracts many people. Watching bakers working provides a specific meaning that shapes our activity”.

For two days, the city centre of Mestre will welcome thirty bakers coming from all over Italy and that, thanks to the support of students from the Berna Institute, they will create an en-plein air oven , from which bread, pizzas, cakes, and pastries will be baked off. Moreover, on Saturday from 16 to 19 and on Sunday from 11 to 13 and from 16 to 18, a tiny workshop for kids will be organized, allowing them to try how the baking process looks like. This year, an exhibition stand will host the international organization Ambassadeurs du Pain, which owns different seats in the world and that promotes a different bread-making process from the one we currently apply, recalling the use of other methods and ancient products. In Mestre, there will also be Piergiorgio Giorilli, considered as the best baker in the world. 

“Traditional bread, such as the rosette, the hoagie and the montassù baked with type 0 flour, is still considered as the most popular among customers – explains Gorghetto – although any kind of bread, if well made, respecting its own baking times, is delicious. The thing is that many people don’t know this, and so purchase frozen bread baked last minute. The smell of freshly baked bread makes you want to buy it, but since it doesn’t respect any of the leavening and fermentation processes, it could later cause you stomach-ache. Bread has just one single rule: the longer it takes to make it the better it will be.  As a matter of fact, my dad taught me to make it with the “bighe”, which is a dough made with water, flour and a pinch of yeast and stored to be used the day after. Therefore, it will be kneaded again, while adding other ingredients. The process of bread making is long and it takes time for bread to ferment, leaven and so for sugars to be absorbed”. 

In Italy we have almost 22 thousand bakery companies, among these 400 are located in the Venice province while almost 2500 in the Veneto Region. “We faced some crisis too, and someone had to shut his business down. Generational turnover is also a cause, this is a hard job, you need to start working at 2AM, sometimes also the inability to move with the times can force you to shut down- he continues- Today time have changed and even the baker needs to present itself in a different way, seek new products, suit with the tastes of the time, and have a nice shop. A baker is the bread entrepreneur, and so needs to know everything about company costs, how to train those who sell, and have a 360-degree view of what a business is”.

Even though it is something that every Italian has on its table, today bread is bought more for its taste than for necessity. As Gorghetto recalls, once one or two kilos of bread were bought from hunger, while today the per capita daily consumption is 80 grams and the national average per family is 300 grams.

Sometimes banned from the table due to diet, recently bread took its revenge also thanks to the discovery of the so-called “ancient grains'. Since then, within Italian households, whole meals, rye, durum wheat, buckwheat and Khorasan flours have appeared. “00 flour has been demonized but its only flaw – explains Gorghetto- is that it has lost all its nutritional properties, due to the fact that it is extremely refined. It was very used in the post-war period, it was considered to be “the bread of the lords” because it came out all nice and white. Today it is almost no longer used, even in bakeries we don’t produce bread with 00 flour anymore. Rough flours are much used, and they taste completely different. Bread remains the basic element in a diet, whatever is the way you decide to produce it. To highlight this aspect, Saturday at 5PM, in the courtyard of the museum M9, the conference “Pane nelle religioni” (bread between religions) will be held, “Dialogo tra esponenti delle confessioni cristiane sul valore sacro e sociale del pane nei 1600 anni di storia e... di futuro della comunità di Venezia” (exchange between the spokesmen of Christianity on the holy and social meaning of bread during the 1600th years of history and…future of the city community of Venice). An exchange of views between the Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Mekhitarist Churches. The bread sculpture “bread in the world” will also be displayed, made by bakers from the Lombardy Region, is a sculpture that represents a world made of bread. “The meaning is clear- says Gorghetto- we have bread, and we all deserve to have it.