Life in Milan in the 1960s was booming. With World War II firmly behind them, a flood of farm workers were making their way to Milan, trying to make their fortunes in the big city!
And what did all of these bright, eager young workers need?
Something quick, filling, and delicious (we’re talking about Italians after all!).
A young, enterprising sandwich maker figured that if he came up with a solution, he could boost his business while filling the bellies of the city’s energetic new residents.
After a bit of trial and error, he presented the panino to his customers!
With lines soon stretching out his door, the Milanese sandwich maker knew he had created a hit. Cheese and meats stuffed between two thick slices of focaccia bread had become the lunch fare of choice for the city’s workers.
Sandwich makers across the city, and then across the globe, began serving paninos to hungry patrons on their lunch breaks, making the panino a world-wide phenomenon .
P.S. You’ll notice that in this recipe the panino is not grilled! That is because unlike the American panini version, classic Italian paninos are typically served cold. However, you are more than welcome to heat yours up! We love to eat paninos both hot and cold. :)