You half expect Al Pacino to be sitting in the corner, sipping his coffee and getting smudges all over his scripts. That’s the level of Italiano inside Pane e Pizzico, Essendon’s beloved Italian bakery and cafe.
Opened in 2015 by Robert Angele (originally of Brunetti fame), his wife Liuba, and Simone Marini (from the DOC Group), it’s fair to say this place knows good bread. The bakers here ferment batches of dough over multiple days, using an 80-year-old ‘Mother Yeast’ culture. You can find their loaves in cafes all over town, but if you want to what to smell the real deal at 7am in the morning, this is where you come.
Locals all have their own favourites. Perhaps the signature Pane Della Salute, a combination of Kamut, Spelt and Wholemeal flour, dressed up in some EVOO (or a cheeky schmear of Nutella). Maybe the Ciabatta rolls (an underrated bread these days)—crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside, they go fantastic with some fresh cold cuts.
Of course, no Italian bakery would be complete without a Nonna-approved range of cheeses, premium custards, housemade jams, bomboloni doughnuts, grab-and-go lunch paninis, corentti oozing with fillings, and fresh Rome-style pizza. Pizzico’s range rotates depending what’s in season, but chances are good you’ll find something to suit your mood.
To wash it down? We recommend the Mole Cola, an Italian version of Coke: slightly less sweat, slightly less carbonated. A smooth little palate cleanser.
Pane e Pizzico translates roughly as ‘bread with a pinch’, which pretty well sums it up. There’s a pinch of just about everything in here. Including good ol’ fashioned love.
Image credit: Pane e Pizzico