We don’t often enter Starbucks, but in order to bear the heat we found ourselves in desperate need of an iced tea earlier this week, and stopped in one of the many downtown locations. In addition to our unsweetened Black Iced tea, we were met with an advertisement for free samples of their new Piandini sandwich.
We had no idea what, exactly, a Piandini was, so we did some web searching and found out that it’s Starbucks’ attempt to replicate the Italian Piadina, a type of flatbread.
Ask different people what they think of when you say piadina and you’ll get different answers. “A great pizza bread” or “an Italian tortilla.” Whatever it is, most people seem to agree that the most important quality of the lard, salt and water dough is that when cooked properly, it’s fairly inflexible, causing it crack or break when bent.
Interesting, considering the Stratbucks Piandini sandwich is flatbread folded into quadrants. Of course, all things considered, we’re not really all that surprised that Starbucks took some liberties with the Italian kiosk food.
What we really want is to try some of the real stuff, but we could only find a couple of places in San Francisco that boast it on their menu — Uva Enoteca on Lower Haight and Chiaroscuro downtown — both restaurants seem to be trying to do the bread justice based on descriptions, though we haven’t had the opportnuity to try them.
In all honesty, we suspect you might be able to find triangles of the bread on tables in North Beach accompanied with some mozzarella and prosciutto unassumingly gracing the table like any other warm bread before a meal.
Starting today we’re on a mission to have our first real piadina experience, and we’re sure when we finally do it won’t include a Frappuccino.
[Photo of Starbucks Piandini via Alexis Wright]