What do Italians call the heel of the bread?

Answered by Robert Flynn

In Italy, the heel of the bread is called “la scarpetta.” This term, which translates to “little shoe” in English, perfectly captures the action of using bread to mop up leftover sauces or juices on a plate. It is a beloved tradition in Italian culture and is widely practiced across the country.

The concept of scarpetta is deeply rooted in Italian culinary traditions. Italians take pride in savoring every last bit of flavor from their meals, and using bread to soak up the remnants of a delicious sauce is seen as both practical and enjoyable. It is a way to fully appreciate the flavors and not let anything go to waste.

The act of scarpetta is not limited to a specific age group or region in Italy. It is a common practice that is embraced by Italians of all ages, from young children to the elderly. In fact, many Italians have fond memories of their grandparents teaching them the art of scarpetta at the dinner table.

To perform scarpetta, one simply tears off a small piece of bread, typically from the crust or heel, and uses it to swipe up any remaining sauce or gravy on the plate. This is done with finesse and precision, ensuring that no drop of flavor is left behind. The bread acts as a sponge, absorbing the delicious juices and enhancing the overall taste experience.

Scarpetta is not only reserved for home-cooked meals. It is also a common practice in restaurants throughout Italy. In fact, some establishments even provide a basket of bread specifically for scarpetta purposes. It is seen as a way to fully enjoy the meal and respect the effort put into creating the flavorful sauces.

Personally, I have vivid memories of scarpetta from my visits to Italy. I recall sitting in a traditional trattoria, indulging in a plate of pasta with a rich tomato sauce. As I finished the pasta, I couldn’t resist tearing off a piece of crusty bread and savoring every last bit of the sauce. It was a truly satisfying and comforting experience, one that made me feel connected to the Italian culture and culinary traditions.

The heel of the bread is affectionately called “la scarpetta” in Italy. It represents a cherished practice of using bread to mop up leftover sauces and juices from a plate. Scarpetta is a way for Italians to fully enjoy their meals and appreciate the flavors to their fullest extent. It is a delightful tradition that spans generations and is a testament to the passion Italians have for their food. So, if you ever find yourself in Italy, don’t hesitate to embrace the art of scarpetta and indulge in the simple pleasure of savoring every last bit of flavor.