We are enjoying Trader Joe's Pane Guttiau so much that we're afraid they might discontinue them. This often seems to happen to our favorite items at the tiny TJs on Boylston Street.
The staff tells us these are a big hit so maybe our evening snack of a few crackers with a bit of soft cheese will be safe for a while.
This is TJs version of the traditional Sardinian parchment bread called pane carasau or carta di musica we sometimes find in North End shops.
Those shown here in a photo for Wikipedia are large and round and often wrapped in paper packages.
Trader Joe's version is cut into squares, packed in a box, and a bit easier to get home and serve. We find ourselves buying three or four boxes at a time, just in case ...
These simple, light crackers are made in Italy with wheat, yeast, water, salt, and olive oil. They are wonderful by themselves with a glass of wine.
Some nights, we let a bit of soft cheese come to room temperature and spead the thinnest possible layer on the cracker. Remember, these are very thin and brittle, so warm cheese and gentle spreading does the trick.
This may be our favorite roof deck snack this summer. Can't wait for a bottle of bubbles and a tray of cheese and crackers overlooking the Charles.
Our readers outside the Boston area, who don't have access to a Trader Joe's, might want to make their own version. Here's a recipe along with a video that shows how much work it takes to handmake these delights.
A video version without measurements from Delicious Italy (Just the way a nonna would teach it.) Imagine the work when women hand rolled this bread in each step!
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2014 Penny Cherubino and Center photo from this page of Wikipedia.