A Tunisian bread inspired by the Italian immigrants who lived in Tunisia in the 18th century.
Did you know that know that there was a rather large French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish immigration in North Africa from the sixteen century to the early twentieth century?!
But this immigration had actually started much earlier. It is the Genoese who originally arrived in large numbers on the island of Tabarka in Tunisia between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century. During the sixteenth century, the Jews from Livorno, a city on the Western coast of Tuscany, started to migrate south, mainly to Tunis to work in the area which is known as La Goulette.
Immigrants kept on coming into the region, finally the French starting the "second colonial empire" by taking over Algiers. Following the post-war decolonization, Europeans, mainly the Italians and the French began to leave the country, but not before leaving their mark on the culture, and particularly the cuisine of the region!
Many can easily recognize the French influences by way of baguettes, croissants and many other foods enjoyed by Maghrebines. But the Italian and Spanish influences in Maghrébine cuisine are lesser known yet innumerable. Some of the most common recipes include La Mona, an orange scent bun Makrouna bel salsa, a variant of spaghetti bolognese with harissa, Garantita, or Zabaglione, an iced version of the famous Italian dessert.
There is a long tradition of bread baking in from the region, that dates back to the Roman times. Besides the famous baguette mentioned above, there are numerous other breads, that have been adopted from the north.
La Mona, an orange scented sweet bread was probably adopted by Spanish 'Roscon de reyes sweet bread prepared by Valencian immigrants for the Christian Epiphany holiday. Hanounas, on the other hand, is a braided and shaped bread that is often prepared by grandmothers for their grandchildren for Eid el Fitr. It really resembles the southern Italian Cuddura that is prepared for the Easter holiday.
Khoubz Talien, a dense durum wheat bread with lesser water content is yet another adaption of European that was brought over by immigrants. This bread's dough is that of a traditional Silician bread Mafalda. It's usually shaped into a stortella, a S-shape but the shaping resembles more of a sfilatino, which is similar to a baguette but shorter. These bread due to their lower water content tend to have a longer shelf life.
The texture of this bread with very dense and slightly sweet, and it's the nigella seeds that give this bread a characteristic taste.
๑۞๑ Khoubz Talien contains gluten, grains, yeast and seeds. At this time, there is no gluten-free yeast version.