In Greece and in parts of Italy, the simple act of dipping a piece of bread in a bowl with olive oil and spices is a familiar ritual and an age-old tradition. This olive oil-based dipping “sauce” for bread can be made of just olive oil, or it can be combined with myriad herbs and spices. Although it originated in Italy and Greece, this tradition quickly caught on in the U.S., where it became even more predominant than in its places of origin. Enter: Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning!
In many Italian homes, you will be hard-pressed to find a bowl of olive oil on top of the dining table. Even in restaurants, it’s becoming increasingly rare to continue the tradition. Though unfortunate, many home cooks and restauranteurs consider free and flowing of olive oil to be wasteful, as they generally consume high-priced, premium oil. Also, Italians have a strong disinterest in communal bowls. At times, during harvest season, as fresh olives are cold pressed into olive oil, restaurants will offer samples of new olive oil types. However, this is akin to a wine tasting, rather than a recurrent practice, with bread being an optional offering.
In the U.S. food connoisseurs disagree as to when the tradition of dipping bread got started in the country. The sauces used for dipping bread are either a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil or bread dipping seasoning and olive oil. It is widely believed that New York was the forefront of the practice, but the most experienced cuisine experts recall that the delicacy was first offered in San Francisco’s more upscale Italian restaurants.
Bread dipping is like most American traditions. They are usually started elsewhere—with bread dipping being born in the Mediterranean—and we decided to reinvent it a bit in our image, then we make it super popular, so it feels like it was ours from the beginning. Exhibits A and B: Tex-Mex, Californian Asian fusion.
Our first venture into bread dipping seasoning happened with Champion’s Tuscany Bread Dipping. It became extremely popular with both wholesale upscale grocery stores and home-based chefs, and especially olive oil aficionados.
As Champion’s Tuscany Bread Dipping went from overnight sensation to solid trend, to one of Champion’s best selling seasoning blends, we received a lot of feedback from customers asking us to come with more bread dipping blends for olive oil. And there’s nothing we love more than inventing new blends in our test kitchen! After several rounds of testing, we are happy to announce that we have a new bread dipping seasoning blend: Champion’s Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning.
As you may know, Italians have extremely high standards for bread. When they bake bread, they usually wait many, many hours for the yeast to rise completely. As bread is consumed by the whole family in large amounts, it is important to come up with large loaves and thin crusts. They also would rather have bread that feels soft and moist inside, which makes it perfect for the absorption of olive oil, tomatoes, vinegar, and other toppings.
We drew inspiration from Milanese culture to come up with Champion’s Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning in honor of its people’s love of bread and slow-paced meals. While Rome may forever remain in the spotlight as the Italian political capital, Milan is the nation’s financial and industrial center. Some of Italy’s main companies are based there, including Pirelli and Alfa Romeo. Like New York, Milan is a vibrant culinary metropolis and it attracts some of Europe’s most genius chefs. The Milanese people are prone to enjoy the innovative cooking of award-winning chefs, but their hearts are also set on traditional Milanese culinary experiences. Family and friends convene around a large table where extensive time is devoted to the enjoyment of local comfort food and each other’s company.
For delicious, homemade olive oil seasoning dip, mix three tablespoons of Champion’s Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning with half a cup of your preferred olive oil. You should always rely on your own taste and adjust proportions accordingly. After mixing, let the sauce sit for approximately thirty minutes before servings so all the flavors have time to marry.
Another great way of using Champion’s Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning is like a salad dressing. Mix three tablespoons of the seasoning blend with 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar (balsamic vinegar may drown the more complex flavors of Champion’s Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning) and 2/3 cups of olive oil. This recipe also works as a marinade for pork, chicken, or fish, in a very light fashion. Remember that chicken and pork should marinate for two to four hours, whereas fish only requires 30 minutes.
This hand-crafted, salt-free blend presents a taste base of garlic, with subtle tomato notes and tarragon undertones.
Champion’s Milan Bread Dipping Seasoning is a salt-free blend, containing: onion, garlic, black pepper, tarragon, tomato, and basil.