I have a love-hate relationship with the famous bakery Panella L’Arte del Pane on Via Merulana in Rome. On the one hand, they have a vast selection of artfully displayed baked goods (breads and desserts) from all over Italy made according to local traditions. On the other hand, their products never are as good as the real thing, they cost up to 10 times the local price, and the service tends to be less than warm.

Last week, I bought a small puccia pugliese (durum wheat bread made with whole olives) for €10.71. I almost protested when I got to the register, but was too stunned. Puccie cost no more than €1 at my favorite bakery in Lecce! I told my self I would never return!

This boycott lasted all of 6 days. I went there this afternoon during the lunch break for my penultimate Master’s class. The campus is only a couple of blocks away, and it is fiori di zucca (zucchini flower) season, I rationalized. I have already discussed my love for this topping in other posts. I am fully obsessed with fiori and I knew Panella would have what I was looking for. In fact, a beautiful pizza con i fiori di zucca was laid out under a plastic sheet, which they insist on draping over their pizza al taglio display in such a way that every client brushes against it, threatening to send it floating to the floor, and causing one of the employees to dive for it.

For €5 I purchased a meager slice of pizza with fiori, and anchovies laid on a thin layer of ricotta. I immediately realized this was a small price to pay for the most perfect food I have ever eaten.

Panella L’Arte del Pane
Via Merulana 54