In America, the word ‘panini’ is commonly used to refer to a single pressed sandwich. And, while many people are aware that ‘panini’ has an Italian origin, most overlook that the usage is incorrect. In the Italian language, ‘panini’ is the plural form of ‘panino,’ which is the correct term for a single Italian sandwich.
Commonly found in train stations across Italy, anything from a bread roll with a cheese spread to Ciabatta bread filled with lettuce, cold cuts, and cheese can qualify as a panino. Another common misconception is that the sandwich is usually grilled or pressed. The panino can actually be served cold or hot; it’s completely open to customization.
Enjoying a panino in the streets of Rome — Photo courtesy of Fooding Around
Seemingly exotic to Americans, a panino is just another sandwich in Italy. When in Rome, stop by Bar Amore to experience an authentic panino. The shop offers many different options for your sandwich that range from choice of bread to fresh sandwich ingredients. Do as the Romans do and go with the locals’ recommendations.
If Rome isn’t within reach, there’s no shame in continuing to enjoy the pressed specialty we call a ‘panini.’ The translation may be a bit inaccurate, but the sandwich can still be considered Italian fare. Buon Appetito!