Oh, the beauty of Italian tradition, where a food as seemingly simple as these mini rubata breadsticks from Mario Fongo has centuries of history behind it. Sure, these perfectly crunchy, deliciously simple little rods are a wonderful aperitivo snack. And of course they’re made with high-quality Italian ingredients by a small family-owned bakery. But they also have a fairy tale-like backstory that inspires devotion, dedication, and love.
As a child, the future King Vittorio Amedeo II of Sardinia suffered from a sensitive stomach. In 1679, his doctor, working with the royal baker, came up with the idea for a mild, tasty bread that would go down easily. Thus were created grissini—long, ultra-thin breadsticks—and the thicker, rolled rubata. They were an immediate success, not just with the young king-to-be but with nobility across Europe. During Napoleon’s rule, he had them shipped regularly from Turin to Paris. Today, they’re the pride of the Piedmont region in the northwest of Italy.
Since 1945, the Fongo family have been “il panatè” (the village baker) in the small town of Rocchetta Tanaro, just southeast of Turin. Mario Fongo has perfected the simple recipes that are the pride of the region, becoming one of the first artisan bakers to package and sell rubata around the country. Their success starts with the best ingredients, all Italian-made: pure wheat and rice flours perfectly calibrated for each recipe, organic unfiltered extra-virgin olive oil, and no additives, colorings, or preservatives. The family-run Mario Fongo builds trusted partnerships with local producers to ensure a consistent high quality in every element of their breads and crackers.