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Clockwise from top left: muffuletta cross section; muffuletta in wrappers; muffuletta-style olive salad; and circular muffuletta loaves
Alternative namesMuffaletta
CourseMain course
Place of origin
Region or state
Main ingredientsBread: wheat flour, water, eggs, olive oil, yeast, salt, sugar
Sandwich: marinated muffuletta-style olive salad, layers of mortadella, salami, Swiss cheese, ham, provolone

The muffuletta or muffaletta is a type of round Sicilian sesame bread[1] and a popular sandwich that originated among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana, using the same bread.

Etymology, pronunciation, and orthography


The name is believed to be a diminutive form of muffe ('mold', 'mushroom'), perhaps due to the round sandwich bread being reminiscent of a mushroom cap; or from muffola, 'muff', 'mitten'.[2][3] The forms muffoletta and its iterations are modern Italianisms of the original Sicilian. Like many of the foreign-influenced terms found in New Orleans, pronunciation has evolved from a phonetic forebear.

Depending on the specific Sicilian dialect, the item may be spelled:

There are similarities between the muffuletta and the pan bagnat sandwich, which comes from Nice, France.[12]



The muffuletta bread has origins in Sicily, Italy.[13]

The muffuletta sandwich is said to have been created in 1906 at Central Grocery Co. on Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., by its delicatessen owner Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant.[14][15] Sicilian immigrant Biaggio Montalbano (Wikidata), who was a delicatessen owner in New Orleans, is credited with invention of the Roma Sandwich, which may have been a forerunner of the muffuletta.[16] Another Italian-style New Orleans delicatessen, Progress Grocery Co., originally opened in 1924 by the Perrone family, claims the origin of the muffuletta is uncertain.[17]

The traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf[18] split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated muffuletta-style olive salad,[19] salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella.[20] Quarter, half, and full-sized muffulettas are sold.[21][22]

The signature olive salad is a chopped salad made from green olives, black olives, olive oil, celery, cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers, onions, capers, parsley, peperoncini, oregano, garlic, vinegar, herbs and spices. It is a "piquant salad" used as a spread.[23] The celery, cauliflower and carrots are commonly found in the pickled form known as giardiniera.[24] Capers and lemon juice may also be included.[25] It is commercially produced for restaurants and for retail sale.[26]

A muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it.[21]

See also



  1. ^ Lempert, Phil (September 17, 2007). "Is the best sandwich in America the muffaletta?". Today. MSNBC. Archived from the original on November 9, 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-10. The secret ingredient, besides the special recipe for the sesame bread, is Central Grocery's homemade olive spread.
  2. ^ Ayto, John (October 18, 2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199640249 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Soukhanov, Anne H. (June 10, 2010). "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English language, 3rd Ed, Auto-Graphic, Inc,: Dictionary of English Language". Bukupedia – via Google Books.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c Avolio, Corrado (1882). Introduzione allo studio del dialetto siciliano: tentativo d'applicazione del metodo storico-comparativo (in Italian). Uff. Tip. di Fr. Zammit. p. 59 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b c d Pfister, Max (1997). Lessico etimologico italiano (in Italian). Vol. 6. Reichert. p. 441. ISBN 978-3-89500-019-5.
  6. ^ Biblioteca del Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani: Issues 1–4 (in Italian). 1977. p. 28 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b Pitrè, Giuseppe (1889). Usi e costumi, credenze e pregiudizi del popolo siciliano (in Italian). Vol. 17. L. P. Lauriel di C. Clausen. p. 360 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Ciccarelli, Diego; Valenza, Marisa Dora, eds. (2006). La Sicilia e l'Immacolata: non solo 150 anni. Collana Franciscana (in Italian). Vol. 15. Officina di Studi Medievali. p. 39. ISBN 978-88-88615-96-7 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ a b Dizionario tascabile familiare siciliano-italiano (in Italian). Vol. 1. Palermo: Stamperia Spampinato. 1840. p. 66 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Pasqualino, Michele (1790). Vocabolario siciliano etimologico, italiano e latino (in Italian). Vol. 4–5. Reale Stamperia. p. 26 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Mortillaro, Vincenzo, ed. (1844). Nuovo dizionario siciliano-italiano (in Italian). Vol. 2. Tip. del Giornale letterario. p. 75 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Hertzberg, J.; Franรงois, Z.; Gross, S.S. (2013). The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. St. Martin's Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-250-01828-1. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  13. ^ "An Inman Square Gem Will Serve Gigantic Sandwiches at Fenway's New Food Hall". boston.eater.com. June 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Orchant, Rebecca (12 February 2013). "The Muffuletta: New Orleans' Original Italian Sandwich". Food & Drink. Huffington Post.
  15. ^ "1906: The muffuletta is created in New Orleans". Times-Picayune. NOLA Media Group. 10 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Biaggio Montalbano". myneworleans.com. New Orleans Magazine. March 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  17. ^ "Our History". perroneandsons.com.
  18. ^ "Leidenheimer Baking Company". www.leidenheimer.com.
  19. ^ "Looking for a summer snack? Try these two spreads: pimento cheese and muffuletta-style olive salad". tampabay.com. July 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "Best Muffulettas in the French Quarter and Nearby". FrenchQuarter.com.
  21. ^ a b Squires, Kathleen (21 April 2016). "The 5 Best Muffuletta Sandwiches in New Orleans" – via www.wsj.com.
  22. ^ "Muffuletta". Williams Sonoma.
  23. ^ "Olive Salad". Williams-Sonoma. 2023. Retrieved October 24, 2023. This piquant salad is an essential ingredient for the classic New Orleans sandwich known as muffuletta.
  24. ^ Zeitz, Alexandra; Deutsch, Jonathan; Fulton, Benjamin (2018). We Eat What? A Cultural Encyclopedia of Unusual Foods in the United States. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9781440841125.
  25. ^ Weeks, Kevin D. (December 6, 2022). "Muffaletta Sandwich". The Spruce Eats. New York City. Retrieved October 24, 2023.
  26. ^ Lawrence, Amy; Fox Burks, Justin (May 30, 2020). "Muffuletta Salad". Washington Post. Retrieved October 24, 2023.