This is a story of flour, eggs and heart. This is a story of a humble man, grown up with strong hands and a huge sense of humor. This is the story of Daniele Marziali, the anarchist bread maker.
Being a blogger means meet people, man and women who work in this soulful land called Romagna, happy to share their stories with you. I met Daniele Marziali last year at Almeni, the big event of food in Rimini. He’s not the kind of man you fall in love with immediately: he talks too much, he gesticulates too much and sometimes he acts in a weird way, but he is the most genuine expression of a real “romagnolo”.
Discovering the bakery of Daniele
The place is tiny, completely in order, clean like a mirror: everything is ready there to do the miracle of ciambella. Daniele doesn’t like rules (that is why he defines himself as anarchist baker), everything in his creations start from emotions and from the perfect knowledge of his work and row materials. “My creatures (he intends biscuits, Bustrengo and ciambella) are my children, I love them when I make them and this love is what make them special”, says Daniele.
Eating, whatever it is, is an art, a joy, a special experience, he says a sexual experience. He thinks that cooking is like making love: you must be smooth at the beginning and strong later on. Like mixing the ciambella.
Today I and the fellow bloggers of Buon Vivere will learn to do this traditional cake of Romagna. A very simple one: flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, and a pinch of bicarbonate. The process of melting is very slow, done with care. Hands are moving with energy. Daniele invites us to try, it’s amazing how our body starts to move along with our hands. This is the best way to express Daniele’s philosophy.
The dough is composed in an oval shape on a baking tin. Before a final sweet touch: a sprinkle of sugar on, so that it melts in the oven and here we go.
It seems like a miracle, even if it’s easy to do that at home, we know that it will never be the same!
Ciambella romagnola is a traditional cake. It was offered to guests together with a glass of wine (Sangiovese or Albana). It was also the Sunday cake, what ended the lunch, a special food for everyone and for children too. A poor one, but tasty enough to delight the moment.
The tradition of welcome in Romagna is very strong. It is said that you could understand you were in Romagna because people used to offer wine and not water, like in Emilia. But, letting apart this legend, the sense of community and mutual help was very clear.
Not so long ago, I wrote about the Hospitality feast of Bertinoro and the celebration of this tradition.
The king of Ciambella
Ciambella is a very common cake. You can find it in almost every bakery in the area. But not so many can make it real good. Today we will have the privilege to taste it in the best way.
Daniele only uses natural products, for example flour made by ancient grains and natural pork fat (which is not very good if you are vegetarian, but you can also make ciambella with extravergin olive oil).
After half an hour, our ciambella is ready: blond, perfumed and sparkling through the crystals of sugar. It’s a nice day outside. What a better way to taste it than in the courtyard, around a table, with a nice bottle of Albana?
Daniele also produces the Bustreng, a typical cake of the Rimini area, made with white and yellow flour, honey, raisin, figues, bread, eggs, apples and oil.
Daniele doesn’t have a shop, but you can find him around Italy in food and wine events. Follow his Facebook page. He does have a web site, but as an anarchist, he doesn’t up date it since long. Email him at
Disclosure: this post was made during the Settimana of Buon Vivere blog tour. I would love to thank Daniele Marziali, his wife Cristina and their lovely boys for welcoming us and sharing their experience and their enthusiasm.