Focaccia Barese at Pizza Nova

Before there was pizza there was focaccia. And this an appreciation post for Pizza Nova, a popular Canadian pizza chain that serves authentic Focaccia Barese, which was made famous by the people of Bari (a city in the Puglia region of Italy) since the 1800s. Authentic focaccia isn’t always easy to find quickly, as bakeries often sell out very early. So when you need focaccia fast, Pizza Nova makes a terrific one. A blend of pizza and bread, the recipe includes high-quality ingredients like Puglia’s extra-virgin olive oil, oven-roasted black olives, and Pachino-style tomatoes. Pachino tomatoes are red, round, and aromatic, crisp on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. Their unique blend of sweet freshness and subtle saltiness reflects their origin in Pachino, a town on Sicily’s southeastern coast.

In 2012, Focaccia Barese was added to the menu as an exclusive offering by Pizza Nova in Canada. This was the first time that the Consorzio Focaccia Barese (Bari Consortium) granted exclusive right to a company outside the region to produce this special product. This product holds an I.G.P. designation, which safeguards distinct regional foods in Europe. There is no other restaurant in Canada authorized to prepare and sell it.

Focaccia Barese is served at room temperature, so if you give it a try, expect it to be warm, not hot like a pizza. If you want to heat it up at home, it’s recommended you bake it at 450 degrees for two to three minutes, then drizzle with olive oil.

In 1963, Domenic Primucci, president of Pizza Nova, founded the chain alongside his brothers Mike, Vince, and Joe, Italian immigrants from Basilicata, Italy. The first location opened on May 12, 1963, at Lawrence Avenue East, near Kennedy Road. Their first franchise launched in 1969, and now there are over 750 across the country, making Pizza Nova one of the most successful pizza franchises in Canada.

The photos here are from the Pizza Nova location at Royal York and The Queensway at 731 The Queensway, Etobicoke, Toronto.

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