Find the crucial etiquette rules on how to serve and eat focaccia and tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

how to serve and eat focaccia

What focaccia etiquette is

Focaccia etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat focaccia. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow focaccia etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect focaccia etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about focaccia

Focaccia is a type of bread typical of some regions in Italy. It is prepared by oven-baking a dough of flour, water, and other ingredients such as olive oil and rosemary.

There are several types of focaccia. Focaccia types vary by ingredients, texture, shape, color, and nutritional value. In general, focaccia is similar to bread, but more savory in flavor, and oily and soft in texture. Its shape can be round or rectangular.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat focaccia

1) How to store focaccia

It is best to eat focaccia fresh. Ideally, serve it on the same day you buy it.

If you leave focaccia outside at room temperature, it will harden in about one day. You can make focaccia last longer by storing it in a breadbox wrapped in parchment paper. Alternatively, you can wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic.

Do not store focaccia in the fridge. Humidity spoils its texture and flavor. 

You can freeze focaccia. It can last for over 6 months. However, freezing affects the soft and fragrant texture of focaccia. Thus, it is not recommended.

2) How to clean focaccia

Do not wash focaccia, as water spoils its texture.

Wash your hands before handling focaccia. Instead of touching it with your fingers, handle it with a paper towel.

3) How to cook & prepare focaccia

You can buy focaccia or bake yours. 

You can use focaccia as an alternative to bread for making sandwiches. It is common to prepare it by adding toppings, such as with pizza. It is not common as an ingredient in dishes or salads.

Some guests may be intolerant or allergic to wheat or other grains. Ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions. If they cannot eat bread or focaccia, it is considerate to provide them with alternatives.

4) How to serve & present focaccia

In general, focaccia is an informal food, like pizza. However, it can be perfectly appropriate on formal occasions too, to enrich a bread basket or as an appetizer. On formal occasions, place an individual small bread plate for each place setting. Set the bread plate on the left side of the place, above the forks. 

Focaccia is appropriate as a snack or street food. In the Italian region of Liguria, focaccia is eaten at breakfast with coffee or cappuccino, instead of croissant. However, outside of Liguria, it is rather unusual to eat focaccia at breakfast.

Serve focaccia at room temperature or warm. To warm focaccia, place it for 2 to 5 minutes in the oven before serving. 

Serve focaccia in a bread basket or on a cutting board. When you serve it in a bread basket, you should slice focaccia in narrow two-bite slices. If the focaccia is very oily, you should serve it separately from other bread. When you serve focaccia on a cutting board, provide a bread knife and a cloth or fork to handle it.

Since focaccia is already oily and rich in flavor, you can serve it plain without accompaniments. Alternatively, you can accompany it with a spread or a dip. Such as extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter, or dips such as tomato dip.

5) Foods and beverages to pair focaccia with

Focaccia goes well with many foods. The best pairings are the most popular pizza toppings. Fresh and soft cheese, such as stracchino, mozzarella, burrata, or stracciatella. Vegetables, such as tomatoes or artichokes. Charcuterie, such as prosciutto, mortadella, or sausage.

Since focaccia is more savory and oily than bread, avoid pairing it with foods that are already salty or fatty. Such as caviar and foie gras, or oil-rich spreads such as guacamole or mayonnaise. Focaccia is uncommon with fish or meat other than charcuterie.

Do not serve focaccia with grains or food that contains grains as one of the main ingredients. Such as pasta, pizza, couscous, sushi, rice, or quinoa. 

6) How to eat focaccia

Take a slice of focaccia from the breadbasket or serving plate. In formal restaurants, place the slice on your bread plate that is on the left of your setting. In informal venues, put the slice on a side of your main dish. 

If you touch a piece of focaccia from the basket, you must take it and place it into your dish. Do not touch focaccia with your fingers and leave it in the basket. Doing so is bad table manners.

Never use your fork and knife to slice focaccia on a communal board. Instead, use the shared bread knife. Use a cloth, napkin, or fork to hold the focaccia while you slice it.

Focaccia is usually oily. Thus, it is best to avoid touching it with your fingers. You can eat it with a fork and knife. On informal occasions, you can hold one slice of focaccia with two fingers and eat it in bites. 

If focaccia is served with olive oil, pour a few drops onto your side dish. Then, dip the focaccia in it and eat it. Dip it gently instead of mopping the olive oil.

Focaccia etiquette: the worst mistakes

Avoid the worst focaccia etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Touching focaccia on a shared basket and leaving it.
  • 8/10. Serving focaccia that is not fresh.
  • 7/10. Eating from the wrong bread plate at a formal meal.
  • 5/10. Serving focaccia with pasta or pizza.

Additional information for properly serving focaccia

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in focaccia depend on the type and production method. On average, focaccia contains about 250 calories per 100 grams. An individual serving of focaccia is 60 grams and contains about 150 calories.

How to buy the best focaccia

A crucial factor in focaccia etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

To get the best focaccia, buy it fresh at a local bakery. Avoid supermarkets, as they usually sell industrial or previously frozen focaccia.

Alternatives to focaccia

You can substitute focaccia with other comparable flour-based products. Such as bread, grissini, or crackers.


Are focaccia and bread the same? Focaccia is a type of bread. Compared to bread, focaccia is flatter in shape, oily and softer in texture, and savory in flavor.

Are focaccia and pizza the same? Focaccia is more similar to bread than to pizza. However, it is often served as a