It’s with sugar, it’s with grapes!

It’s September, harvest time! In Florence, and not only, at this time of year, you can’t go without the focaccia with grapes!

During the harvest period, it is tradition throughout Tuscany, from the vineyards of the Florentine and Chianti area and throughout the Sienese area, some species of grapes are used to make delicious sweet focacce.

It is the month, together with October, in which we can find them at every baker, or we can prepare them at home, thanks to a very simple and quick recipe.

Of peasant origin, the focaccia with grape was invented using food leftovers and passed down orally for centuries. Evidence of this dish can even be found in the Etruscan culture of the 8th century BC, where sweetened bread dough (made of wheat) was used by adding “canaiola” grapes. In fact, Canaiolo is one of the most widespread native historical vines of Tuscany: its local cultivation until the 18th century surpassed that of Sangiovese.

It seems that this sweet bread with grapes was accompanied by the Etruscans with wine flavored with spices and honey.

Today focaccia with grapes has multiple variations, starting from the flours used for the dough up to the use of the type of grape variety. But the base remains the same as its ancient ancestors: leavened bread dough, lots of black grapes (if not canaiola, fragolina, or whatever the area offers us), sugar, oil and, if desired, some spices.

The secret to the best result is a mixture where the grapes triumph in abundance and flavour. The seeds then are part of the tradition; the bitter crunch blends well with the dough and the sweet/sour grapes, but if we really can’t tolerate them, there are also seedless grapes on the market and a black strawberry grape used to make pergolas.

«It’s with sugar, it’s with grapes!», was the phrase shouted by street vendors during the harvest months, which resonated in the streets of Florence and Prato where, even today, it is “street food” appreciated by all generations.

Despite the Etruscan origin, Tuscany is not the only one to use grapes, fresh or dried, in bread and bakery recipes. Like the Piedmontese cariton with strawberry grapes; the Betolina Lombard cake; the bread with grapes from the Florentine Chianti area (in this case with dried raisins); the Lombard bread tranvai; the bread with the Venetian grape. But also outside the borders, the French Pain aux raisines or the American Roasted Grape Quickbread.

But for us Florentines, our focaccia with grapes is unbeatable!