The Tuscan Appetizer That's Bruschetta's Older Cousin

Italian food is popular worldwide, especially in the U.S. National Geographic reported that out of 800,000 restaurants in the United States, a whopping 100,000 are dishing out Italian delicacies, whether they be casual restaurants, pizzerias, or upscale restaurants. When you find yourself in an Italian restaurant, perhaps you'd like to order some bruschettas, those tasty appetizers consisting of slices of toasted bread that are topped with different ingredients such as fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil, among many others (via The International Kitchen). 

But maybe you want to go to Italy for the authentic experience, and if so, make sure to visit Tuscany, Italy's fifth largest region that's famous for its rolling hills, cypress trees, and, most importantly, delicious food (per Understanding Italy). Among all that Tuscan food there's one appetizer that's also known as bruschetta's older cousin, and it's worth knowing all about it — not just because it's delicious and traditional.

Fettunta consists of roasted bread slices, garlic, olive oil, and salt

Did you know that bruschetta originally started out as fettunta? Fettunta consists of a roasted slice of bread that's drizzled with olive oil, then rubbed with garlic and seasoned with a sprinkle of salt. And although it might look similar to garlic bread, which it practically is in some ways, TasteAtlas claims that it's actually "the predecessor" of bruschetta dating back to the ancient Romans. The name fettunta means "oily slice," because fetta means "slice," and unta means "oily." When in Tuscany, people will traditionally make it with pane toscano, a type of local bread made without salt. Today, the dish is typically the most popular in November when new olive oil needs to be tried out. 

Bruschetta evolved from fettunta because other ingredients started to be added on top of the bread. Italy Heritage reported that some bruschettas were topped with "anchovies, olives, and cheeses." Over time, there have been many versions of these tasty and unique appetizers you wish you knew about sooner with toppings ranging from mushrooms and mozzarella to cream cheese and cuts of pork. Whether you opt for the simple and rustic fettunta or the evolved bruschettas, the combination of classic Italian flavors that blend well will always taste good.