Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shhhhhhh! Please say it correctly!

Before I begin, please understand that I am not upset with you or any of your loved ones for saying brussshetta instead of bruschetta.  I've essentially learned to tune it out, like the neighbor above who me snores at night. I've learned to live with it and as long as I don't dwell on it I'm okay.




Who am I upset with, then? All the tools, dip shits and marketing moguls who are not pronouncing and/or using the word correctly in the media. You learned it from watching them, after all.

Most of all, I am upset with anyone who owns an Italian restaurant and pronounces bruschetta wrong. 
There is just no excuse.
If you are charging people for an Italian dish (with a 500% profit margin!) you should throw in the f%#@king proper pronunciation! No excuses.

Don't make me pull a Gordon Ramsay, ragazzi! Give me a camera crew and a feed budget and set me loose on Italian restaurants anywhere outside of Italy. Bring it on! I want to talk some smack! 

I've been on my soap box for years on this topic. Over four years ago, I posted a blog entry on about how to pronounce bruschetta.

Though bruschetta is increasingly popular, people are still running around mispronouncing this lovely word.

And worse, it is being thrown around as if it were a single ingredient instead of an actual dish in itself (one of the chain restaurants in the USA is making "chicken bruschetta pasta." I'm refraining from using the F word here. I've got it! Phuck them!

So, I'm re-posting my blog entry from 2007. The original can also be seen by clicking here.

Let’s Talk About Bruschetta

By Toni Mazzaglia from Florence, on October 23rd, 2007
Watch GeoBeats videos of Toni

Ok. I have tried my hardest to hold my tongue, but somebody has to do this: Do you know how to pronounce bruschetta?!!
I am asking since it has become a popular item on menus around the world, and lots of people are pronouncing it incorrectly.
Chefs, waitstaff, and restaurant owners are pronouncing bruschetta wrong, so how is everyone else supposed to know how to say it?
I have even seen a chef on the Food network mispronounce bruschetta.
Basta. No more. I am going to single-handedly end this!!!
To hear the correct pronunciation of bruschetta, please see the Rifrullo video in Florence, Italy. The host, Carolina, says bruschetta as she is describing the antipasto platter.
Notice, she is not saying “bruShetta,” because it is not pronounced bruShetta.
BRU-SCHET-TA. The important thing here is the CH. The S is what is throwing everyone off!!!
In Italian, when a C or G is followed by and H, the H protects the C or G from an E or I that follows… In other words, the H keeps the C or G hard.
Examples that most people already pronounce correctly:
And now, please repeat, bruschetta. (brew-sket-ta).
Other words you have seen around that might have scared you with their H’s:
Ghirardelli (the chocolate)
Ghirlandaio (the Renaissance artist)
chiave (key)


See the Rifrullo with the proper bruschetta pronunciation! (And the lovely Carolina Gamini!)

Let me know your thoughts. Do you know how to say bruschetta but get embarassed when the mislead think that you are the one not saying it right? Share your stories and pass this blog on to anyone you care about. 

Friends don't let friends mispronounce bruschetta!

And please know, this is only a drop in the bucket. There are plenty of other words that need to be defended. Bruschetta is essentially my poster child for this cause.

Nobody wants to be that snob who corrects people while they're speaking. I'm going for preventative snobbery.


  1. It's a lost battle, my friend! Media's language will coniugate wrong for ever and new wrong words will be in future menus!

  2. Love this! As an Aussie I was saying it the 'wrong' way but consider me taught and I'll spread the word. Looking forward to learning more on our tour with you in March.

  3. Language situation could be extenden also to the italian word "burrata". This evening I ate instead a "buratta", from the menu. SOB

  4. We are having a pronunciation class at Pulcinella's this week just in case! Love it!

  5. You know how many times I bite my tongue and try not to correct people while we do the tasting, don't you? Thanks for saving my tongue from further bites then! <3


  6. How exciting to have so many comments!
    I'm glad to see that Pulcinella's will be working on their pronunciation of menu items!

    Tina, Thanks for writing in! See you in March!

    C- I know!

    At this point I should also add the fact that Italians use English in all kinds of weird ways, too. To be fair, I'll do a blog entry on it. There are all types of fun phrases, like "avere feeling", which I have adopted and sometimes use even when speaking in English.

    Grazie a tutti!

  7. I have a question about bruschetta.

    Is it better to let it sit for a little while before you eat it, or should it be eaten freshissimo?

  8. Tiohn,

    That is a great question! How do you prefer yours? Dry or a combo of crunchy and slightly moist?

    Bruschetta varies a lot according to each individual and family- some people prefer it eaten as soon as it has been made, but it really depends on personal taste.

    There are two important things for making bruschetta that will be good even if it sits around for a while (like at a party):
    1)Don't cut the bread too thick! More or less the width of your pointer finger at most. Too much bread with any style of crostino or bruschetta means the topping will be battling it out with the bread- and it will fill you up too fast.
    2)Be sure you have toasted or grilled the bread enough that it will maintain crispness even if it gets a little bagnato (wet/soggy) in the middle from the tomatoes.
    3)Most of all, fresh high quality ingredients are fundamental. Be sure your tomatoes are flavorful but not bordering on that fermented flavor they sometimes get... and good olive oil will turn a normal bruschetta into a little slice of heaven. Remember: olive oil should be fresh (no more than 16 months old! For best oil: Extra virgin of Tuscany or Umbria less than 6 months old).

    I like to make the tomato topping about an hour ahead of time when possible to be sure the oil, tomatoes, garlic and salt mingle a bit and make the topping as tasty as possible. Then I top the bread slices just before serving.

    But, remember, most Italian foods are based on simplicity. Don't stress yourself out over it.

    PS- I've met several Tuscans who toast/grill the bread, douse it with oil, rub it with fresh garlic, then actually rub the tomatoes directly onto the bread (usually ripe cherry tomatoes). Salt & a little pepper and that's it.
    Try this version and see what you think.

  9. Toni,
    My Sicilian grandparents would agree with you,as do I. But I wonder if that sibilant "sh" as in the mispronounced "bruschetta" might be a dialect problem. You live in Italy; is "bruschetto" pronounced with a hard c everywhere, or is it only Sicilians that know how to speak correcly? :-)

    1. Another Italian word that is associated with dining that has been mispronounced for at least a century is the "maraschino" cherry. Like "bruschetta" which in America is more often pronounced "brussshetta" than "brusKetta", "maraschino" is almost universally pronounced as "marassshino" instead of "marasKino".

  10. Did you know there is a restaurant in New Jersey name Bruschetta. I called for a reservation, and the host answered the phone with "Brussshhheetta's". Since I wrote a book about bruschetta, I hung up. Later I called them back to help them with the pronunciation, and they were rude. Anyway, for those interested, go to for Pellegrino's Simply Bruschetta: Garlic Toast the Italian Way. The publisher says it is sold out, but for some reason has some as well as used ones.


  11. Nice article! thanks for this material has been a great help, I recommend this app has really been a great tool for my learning and pronunciation

  12. Brava!
    This mispronunciation has driven me wild ever since I started enjoying pane grillato con pomodori. Even my Berlitz Italian (enhanced with conversational over the years) would get it right. You may also be pleased to know that Joe Regalbuto tried to correct this once as his character "Frank Fontana" in the old Murphy Brown TV series. Alas, to no avail.