Fette Biscottate: Italy’s Terrible Cracker Cookie

In a country like Italy, a place completely dead set against many incarnations of pre-made food, there remain notable exceptions.

Allow me to present you with frozen pizza topped with french fries and hotdogs and fette biscottate. 

I’ve written about 6 things I’ve learned after 6 years in Italy, but after 6.5 years in Italy I can now say with a fair amount of confidence that fette biscottate are the kind of ridiculous food that you have to be born into and grow up with to like. 

This weird, packaged product is essentially pre-toasted toast. 

Let me allow that to sink in for a moment. 

Pre. Made. Toast. 

I’m sorry, Italy, but who the hell doesn’t know how to make TOAST?!

Many Italians I know are horrified when they hear that a lot of people don’t know how to make pasta sauce. 

Yes, I patiently explain, most Americans buy sauce in a jar! Yes, from Barilla. 

“But it’s so EASY to make your own,” they insist. 

Ok. Sure. But you know what is even easier to make?? A f-ing piece of toast. 

You don’t even need a specialized roasting machine! Just throw it in a hot pan and flip it after 45 seconds. There you go! Toast! 

Fette biscottate are pre-toasted toast in plastic packages and I hate them. I hate them so much. 

Well, they are not really TOAST, but toast-shaped dust cookies. And they are horrible cookies at that – which makes me hate them all the more.

I never get crazy excited about Italian breakfast but I hold a special level of distaste for dust dry packaged toast. 

It’s horrible. It crumbles if you look at it. 

But I swear to you, if you ask most Italians about this abomination, they will get a little twinkle in their eye and tell you how delicious fette biscottate are with Nutella or marmalade. 

Don’t listen. Just get a spoon and eat the topping of choice straight from the jar. 

Italian non-toast “cookies” are the worst.

45 thoughts on “Fette Biscottate: Italy’s Terrible Cracker Cookie

  1. Danielle says:

    HAHAHAH! This was hilarious and so true! Oddly enough, I actually lie the pre made toast, but it is funny that it’s even a thing! Don’t really get it

  2. Glicine says:

    Actually, fette biscottate are not toasts. The dough is slightly sweet (that’s why they work woth jam) and cannot be compared with bread dought. In addition, they are not toasted. They are oven-backed. The Italian translation fot toasted bread is pane tostato, significantly different from fette biscottate. You may try harder

    • patricia says:

      stavo per scriverlo io ma lo hai detto tu. si usano a colazione da condire con marmellata (e burro) o con miele o creme spalmabili e non a pranzo da farcire con prosciutto e formaggio come un toast.

  3. Gretchen says:

    Actually, these are not toast, like you have for breakfast. They are sold in many countries, under a variety of brands. I used to see them served with cheese as a snack or at tea time, sometimes with a spread. They are used more like crackers would be–a thicker version of melba toast. So no, not “pre-made” toast.

  4. Georgette says:

    I totally feel you, normally this is entirely broken by the time you actually want to eat it or it breaks immediately upon the spread of Nutella or honey. What I don’t get is hotels that serve it, it’s like “hey we use low quality, pre-made crap, yay!”

  5. Meagan Brandon says:

    Natalie, I LOVED this post! Made me laugh out loud! I never touched that stuff when we lived in Italy for the very reasons you named. Gosh, I miss Rome sometimes, though…especially lately. This mama has been craving carbonara pasta like crazy and it’s not easy to find in Jordan!

    Meagan
    http://www.meagansmoda.com

    • Jenin Assaf says:

      So funny you mention Jordan – I now live in Rome and lived in Jordan for many years. Try Gusto restaurant for the carbonara. I havent tried it myself, but hear its good.

      Now in Rome, I miss all the good food of Jordan and middle east!

      (and the fette biscottate are a ridiculous invention – Italian breakfasts are nothing to write home about, middle eastern breakfasts on the other hand are delicious 🙂

  6. patricia says:

    soprattutto a firenze dove spacciano per pane quella roba di farina di grano tenero senza sale insapore è meglio mangiare fette biscottate e marmellata o nutella. il pane toscano toglie sapore alla nutella. se vieni in sicilia allora capisco che è meglio mangiare il pane a morsi 🙂

  7. Francesca Montillo says:

    Fun read! I’m a native Italian and grew up on these until I was about 11. They are the equivalent of Italian pastina! Comfort food at its best. Yeah, they have no flavor and taste stale but I love these things! You want to know what’s worse? I buy these on Amazon now and pay a premium for delivery! The Buitoni ones crumble and are basically bread crumbs by the time they reach me. I’ve never had a problem with broken ones from Mulino Bianco. I guess it’s an Italian thing, you wouldn’t understand. 😉

  8. piero says:

    Natalie mi fai “spaccà da ride”..due cose: la prima è che sei una ragazza in gamba, andare in un altro paese senza conoscere nessuno e neanche la lingua è sempre da ammirare, ci vuole coraggio, tu ne hai anche di piu essendo americana che in genere è un popolo un po “insular”.
    ora le fette… bè tu ormai sei mezza italiana/romana e sai bene che in realtà a differenza dei paesi anglosassoni noi non diamo una eccessiva importanza alla colazione a casa, eccetto forse le famiglie con bambini, caffè/cappuccino e cornetto al bar e via, noi abbiamo il rito dei pasti e del caffè al bar la mattina (e non solo la mattina).Da qui il fatto che pochi si mettono li a tostare il pane etc etc..le fette sono pratiche veloci, e non sono poi cosi male, prova quelle della Gentilini( grande fabbriva romana di biscotti!!!) e poi mi dici.
    PS. scrivi molto bene ( qualcosina in italiano no eh???) dovresti un giorno scrivere un libro su questa tua Italia, in questo tuo italenglish che è tropppo forte…o comunque continua a scivere SEMPRE.!! un abbracciio!

  9. Elena says:

    I completely agree with Piero. Fette biscottate Gentilini are amazing! I live in England now and I miss them a lot. When I go back to Rome I always buy some packets and I put them in my suitcase. The taste of a “fetta biscottata” is completely different from a slice of toasted bread.

  10. Elinor says:

    Hi Natalie – I just discovered your blog and love it. I lived in Rome right after college from 2010-2012 and completely fell in love with the city. I miss living in Italy everyday and am glad to have stumbled upon your blog to keep me feeling connected to Rome and updated. It will no doubt inform my annual return trips to Rome/Italy. Many of your observations and impressions resonate with me and this particular post also made me laugh out loud. Keep up the great work!

  11. Elena says:

    I am 100% italian and grew up with fette biscottate but I found your point of view funny ? I guess no5 everyone likes the same but personally me and my 4 kids love them!

  12. Dan says:

    Hahhahahaha you thought it was a toast???! Really?Fette biscotte are a kind of cookies, not toasts, we use for breakfast. It’s very healthy, with low calories and low sugar.
    oh god… Americans deserve their foods.

      • Alb says:

        Well, what u think doesn’t change what they are. If u are stupid and u think That a car is a motorbike, it won t lose 2 wheels. Start think and inform yourself instead of write this stuff.
        Fette biscottate are sweet. Toast are salty. U use fette biscottate with tea/milk during breakfast with some marmelade or Nutella.
        And what is this, a blog of what? Reviews of market food? Lol
        U r in Italy. Go to restaurant and enjoy cuz food is an insult to the world in you country.
        To be honest, USA and his citizens are an insult to the world but np

  13. S says:

    In six years in Italy you still haven’t understood that FETTE BISCOTTATE are not toast?! Hahahahhahahaha
    Dear, tey them with butter and jelly nam or Nutella, we don’t treat it as a regular bread. The name should have already given you hints that this is more of a cookie than a bread. Even it it were bread tho, it would be still better than the soggy disgusting bread you find abroad.
    And, at last but not at least, still better than chemicals pop tarts!

  14. Martina says:

    They’re not pre-toasted toast or else the box would say “pre-toasted toast”! Of course we know how to make toast (without using tons of butter – no wonder you’re all fat). They’re just fette biscottate, if you don’t like them that’s your business, there’s no need to write about it and insult us. And since you come from a Country where people put ketchup on pasta, parmesan cheese on shrimps and mozzarella on lasagna (I live in DC, I’ve seen people doing it and I didn’t write a blog about it, unbelievable!) you should just shut up and enjoy the amazing italian food!!

  15. J says:

    Oh my goodness guys., she is writing as an American experiencing your culture, appreciate the fact that she lets you in on what most of us Americans think when we see fette biscottate. This is a hilarious post! Don’t be so easily insulted! ?Get a grip!!

    • N says:

      J, yes, of course, ‘appreciate’ because most Europeans crave knowledge on what you Americans think!? (Really? How arrogant.) And from your post and the original article we can glean that you have narrow mindedly completely misunderstood a baked good …how can we possibly expect you to ‘appreciate’ finer, more nuanced differences in human culture!

      • Natalie says:

        Just to be clear, that is akin to me calling Ritz crackers a ‘baked good.’ I’m not insulting someone’s mother’s crostata and calling it overbaked pie. This is an industrial cookie shaped like toast that tastes like dust and I am surprised that so many people are willing to die on a cross for that. I completely understand how a food can be obscured by nostalgia and fond memories, and I do find it interesting to hear the thoughts of others – even outsiders.

  16. Sam says:

    My convent lodging in Rome serves these every morning for breakfast. No tourists stay here, only female students and workers coming from Europe and other parts of Italy, and they all nearly revolted against this packaged dust. So the convent also puts out a few slices of bread in the morning now. But we know this little packet is not going away. It is probably the cheapest item available and desired by admins for that reason, cause it aint got no taste, and not enough calories for sustenance. The lodgers crave soft pastries but they have to buy breakfast on their own to avoid this ubiquitous little packet.

  17. Rossella says:

    OMG all the people here insulting while getting offended about this post at the same time, the irony!
    Like all italians I love fette biscottate, they’re my fav thing to dunk in my latte for breakfast after mulino bianco cookies. And with butter&jam in the afternoon with my tea. Toasted bread is good but too “heavy”, while they’re light and crunchy and lower in calories.
    On their own they taste horrible, we all have to admit that, it’s the kind of thing you eat to ease pregnancy morining sickness lol

  18. Dawn says:

    This post is the first result on my Google search of fette biscotte today 😀 Wikipedia links it to rusks (in the same search results), and I know Zwieback as a sort of rusk. Why am I searching for it? The breakfast list for my B&B didn’t translate it, and now I know why! I think I’ll try them anyway, then smuggle a load back to the UK so my friends can ‘enjoy’ them as well 😀

  19. Isabelle lantieri says:

    Ah ah ah i laughed when I read your article . I am French and I have to confess that I like fette biscotatte … I grew up with it and when I can find some in the states I am happy! But I get your point !!!! On the other hand I don’t buy my tomato sauce I make it – ( sono mezzo Italian mezzo francese).

  20. Sgrunta says:

    Fette biscottate are not pieces of toasted bread. Like macaroni cheese is not maccheroni ai 4 formaggi. Come on! invest 2.5 euros and get a better brand. I suggest gentilini, panmonviso or viaggiatoregoloso brand. They have a deliciously subtle sweet buttery taste, just top it with some homemade jam and dip in in a cappuccino. Much more healthier than high fructose glucose syrup pancakes or crumpets or sugar filled muffin or sticky peanut butter or disgusting vegemite/marmite on toast or any of the things that anglosaxons call food.

  21. Noelle says:

    I HATE them! The last time I had to eat them was in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter! They gave me 2…. yes 2! Like that was really going to give me the energy I needed after pushing out a baby! ?

  22. cinzia says:

    sorry dear friends
    but to be clear, fette biscottare are not pre-made toasts!!!!!!
    we Italians know how to make toasts!! fette biscottate are just “fette biscottate” a typical rusk which is made in Italy
    so please, try to get more data and more taste before writing something about food!!!
    thanks

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