Bread is a product with the history as old as it is universal. In Cádiz it’s artisanal, rustic and tastes like home. The bread recipes here are thousand years old – just like the land itself. Picos de Pan (breadsticks in multiple variants) and regañás have been gaining prominence in province’s bakery, obtaining its recognition in Spanish gastronomy and, recently, even some certain international fame. A breadstick was born as a crunchy part of a tapa, the perfect companion for snacking, although nowadays it’s even served as a type of gourmet bread at the finest tables.
Bread has always been a sign of the identity of the land across the world: each region has produced its own bread throughout its history, which has served not only as homemade food but also as a characteristic element of its gastronomic culture.
Cádiz bread industry is distinguished by its variety, where the main characters are undoubtedly the breadsticks and regañás.
According to local bakers, breadsticks were born by chance: small rolls were made with the leftover dough, baked for a bit longer than bread and given to children. Gradually, this custom developed into a line of specific products that turned many bakeries in Cádiz into an industry.
These little pieces of crusty bread are an extraordinarily versatile product, and in recent years they’ve achieved quite a different status from their origins. Breadsticks and all their variants are almost indispensable as an accompaniment to the renowned tapas, which Spain has managed to promote and make fashionable in the rest of the world. Moreover, their long shelf life makes them a much more convenient alternative to bread.
On the other hand, with the growth of the industry and new market trends, the use of basic, natural ingredients such as olive oil, cereals and seeds has attracted the interest of a discerning public with a taste for good quality. As a result, the culinary use of breadsticks is expanding and they’re also becoming an attractive snack, a healthy and natural way of getting a bite between meals.
The producers strive to maintain the traditional shapes of these dry breads, which go by all kinds of names (picos, picos camperos, pulguitas, duros, palitos, bolitas, rosquillas, etc.), but they also take advantage of the resources available in the basic ingredients to create all kinds of variations: normal or wholemeal, home-made, organic, with virgin olive oil, sesame, oregano, basil, thyme, coarse salt… the list is almost endless.