With at least one out of eight Indian restaurants being Italian and half of them serving Italian food, it is safe to say that Italian cuisine has conquered the culinary world. The rich, diverse and delicious cuisine has been able to tug at the heartstrings of food connoisseurs and has kept most foodies hooked to it. The buttery, aromatic with garlic and crispy bread is enough to complete an Italian dish. It is no hidden secret that garlic bread is often found with classic Italian dishes like a spaghetti bowl, pizza or meatballs. These pairings have almost convinced us that the dish belongs to and originated in Italy. But how far is this statement true? Read on to know more.

Legend has it that garlic bread didn’t originate in Italy but is a close cousin of the classic Italian bread dish- Bruschetta. Bruschetta is essentially made with a thick slice of bread that is first toasted and then rubbed with a garlic clove for the subtle garlic flavour. It is then drizzled with some olive oil and finished with a sprinkle of salt.

How did the buttery garlic bread come into being then? It is believed that garlic bread attributes its origin to Italian-American cuisine. Olive oil was quite an uncommon ingredient in the US until the mid 20th century. Instead, the use of butter on toast was a common practice. Millions of Italians migrated to the US between 1880 to 1924 due to poverty and political persecution. The Italian immigrants, on being unable to find olive oil to serve Bruschetta, used butter instead. The use of butter made the classic Italian dish suited to the American palate and the dish became popular. To popularize some classic Italian dishes, the Italian restaurants started serving garlic bread along with them to please the American palate. This is how the popular side dish became popular all over the world.

No matter whether garlic bread is originally Italian or not, it is surely the best side dish to complement the classic Italian dishes.