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All hail the humble breadstick on National Breadstick Day, an annual event on the last Friday in October; this year’s celebration occurs on October 29. Breadsticks are slender sticks of baked crispy dry goodness invented in Italy. Aside from their crunch, the best thing about breadsticks is they can be eaten as an appetizer or you can dress them up with all manner of culinary embellishments. Yum!
History of National Breadstick Day
It seems the original breadsticks, known as grissini, originated in the Piedmont region of Italy in the late 1600s, though food historians don’t all agree on the origins of this treat.
One such telling begins when the young duke, Vittorio Amedeo II di Savoia, turned nine. He had already suffered from intestinal disorders that affected his ability to eat as well as his physical development.
His mother asked the court physician to find a remedy to feed her son. The physician, who had great intellect, pinned the blame on food poisoning from bread polluted by pathogenic intestine germs. The doctor himself had suffered from similar intestine disorders. His remedy at the time? His mother’s homemade bread, “well leavened, well baked with little crumb and very crisp.”
The doctor asked a local baker to reproduce the bread sticks for the duke. It worked. Vittorio recovered and eventually became a king. The crisp grissino became the preferred bread in the Savoia household. Thus, visiting royalty and aristocrats of the time all had a chance to try it out. Just four years after Duke Vittorio ate his first breadstick, heavy demand for the product made it necessary for officials to set a ceiling price.
Did breadsticks really cure the duke? It seems possible that diners had enjoyed grissini earlier than that. But it does make for a good story.
National Breadstick Day timeline
A Florentine abbot originally described grissini as "long-shaped, bone thin" bread made in a town outside of Turin.
They were created as an intestinal disorder remedy that encouraged the appetite of the nine-year-old duke, Vittorio Amedeo II de Savoia, House of Savoy — eventually saving his life.
Following a corporate merger with Olive Garden, Starboard Value shocked the business world by eliminating the famous all-the-breadsticks-you-can-eat policy — believing that hungrier customers would buy more entrees. It worked. Olive Garden stock skyrocketed by 47%.
National Breadstick Day FAQs
When were breadsticks invented?
Where can I find good breadsticks?
When is National Pasta Day?
National Breadstick Day Activities
Go on a Great Breadstick Hunt
People take their breadsticks seriously. On National Breadstick Day, we challenge you to find the restaurant in your area with the best breadsticks. Gather your crew and hit at least three restaurants. Order only breadsticks and decide on which restaurant to crown the National Breadstick Day winner.
Replace traditional pointers with breadsticks
Do you have a presentation coming up at work? Imagine the look on your colleagues' faces when you step up to the podium, whip out your breadstick and commence to present. Let's just say that your presentation will never get lost in the noise. You will definitely make an impression.
Fight a duel using breadsticks
He's a Democrat and she's a Republican. Instead of a war of words, how about a duel — with breadsticks? Why not? After you've poked each other with your breadsticks, the original argument is forgotten and you get to sit down and eat your weapons. Hey, it can happen!
4 Reasons Why The World Tastes Better With Breadsticks
Although there are several versions of how breadsticks were created, the only thing everybody agrees on is that they are made of bread, enjoy an Italian heritage, and taste good.
Napoleon loved 'em
Napoleon installed a stagecoach service between Torino and Paris primarily as a way to escort breadsticks to the emperor, who called them “little sticks of Turin.”
We want them crispy — not burnt
The main directive to 14th century bakers was to bake crispy breadsticks without burning them.
They're even in Spain
Spanish breadsticks, known as Rosquilletas, are primarily served mostly in the Castello de la Plana region
Why We Love National Breadstick Day
There's beauty in their simplicity
What takes a breadstick from just good to great? Consider the joy of creating something magnificent from ordinary ingredients. Take ordinary bread dough rolled and sliced into strips. Set a moderate heat for your oven, and bake your delicious, homemade breadsticks for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a shimmering, golden brown and serve them fresh.
They are versatile
The question is — what CAN'T you do with breadsticks? Add conventional toppings like butter or cheese or be daring. Turn your breadsticks into dessert, slathered in cinnamon sugar and the decadent icing of your choice. Dip them in your favorite olive oil (genuine Italian, if you please) or scoop up a tantalizing dip of your own design.
These 'sticks are safe
Even though most breadsticks are pointy, small kids can eat them without getting hurt. Breadsticks are wonderful snacks for children because they hold their shape well and won't dribble down their sleeves like drippy ice cream. Breadsticks are filling but will still leave the right amount of room for the afternoon or evening meal.
National Breadstick Day dates