In the Modenese Appennines, tigelle (plural form of tigella) are terra-cotta discs which are heated in the fireplace. The tigelle are then stacked, interposing some bread dough between them.

The resulting small, flat loaves (less than 4 inches in diameter, bearing some resemblance with an english muffin), are called "crescentine nelle tigelle", and are served warm.

By extension, people from the plains call "tigelle" the loaves themselves, to the amusement of the mountain inhabitants, who, upon hearing a order of "tigelle" at a restaurant, like to quip:
"Well I'll bring tigelle if you wish, but they'll be hard on your teeth..."

The (traditional) way to eat tigelle is to cut them in half and stuffing them with a filling prepared by mixing lard, finely chopped rosemary and garlic (as you would in a food processor) and topping it with grated parmesan. The filling melts on the warm bread and the result is delicious (you must like garlic for this to work).

Other popular stuffings for tigelle include all kind of cured pork meat (prosciutto, salame, mortadella, ciccioli,...), soft cheeses (stracchino and somesuch) and even Nutella (yuck! if you want my opinion).

Reastaurants that prepare tigelle almost invarably also prepare gnocco fritto and the customary order is one of gnocco and tigelle. A more rare occurrence (and almost exclusively in the Modenese Appenines) is to find places that serve the closely related, but less widely known, borlenghi and ciacci.

Ti*gel"la (?), n. [NL., from F. tige stem or stock.] Bot.

That part of an embryo which represents the young stem; the caulicle or radicle.

 

© Webster 1913.

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