From top left, clockwise: muffuletta cross section, muffuletta in wrappers, muffuletta-style olive salad, circular muffuletta loaves
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.


The muffuletta bread has origins in Sicily.[2]

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.[3][4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

The traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf[7] split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated muffuletta-style olive salad,[8] salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella.[9] Quarter, half, and full-sized muffulettas are sold.[10][11]

The signature olive salad consists of olives diced with the celery, cauliflower and carrot found in a jar of giardiniera, seasoned with oregano and garlic, covered in olive oil, and allowed to combine for at least 24 hours.[12]

A muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it.[10]

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,".[13][14] 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.[23]

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. ^ "An Inman Square Gem Will Serve Gigantic Sandwiches at Fenway's New Food Hall". June 26, 2019.
  3. ^ Orchant, Rebecca (12 February 2013). "The Muffuletta: New Orleans' Original Italian Sandwich". Food & Drink. Huffington Post.
  4. ^ "1906: The muffuletta is created in New Orleans". Times-Picayune. NOLA Media Group. 10 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Biaggio Montalbano". New Orleans Magazine. March 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Our History".
  7. ^ "Leidenheimer Baking Company".
  8. ^ "Looking for a summer snack? Try these two spreads: pimento cheese and muffuletta-style olive salad". July 8, 2019.
  9. ^ "Best Muffulettas in the French Quarter and Nearby".
  10. ^ a b Squires, Kathleen (21 April 2016). "The 5 Best Muffuletta Sandwiches in New Orleans" – via
  11. ^ "Muffuletta". Williams Sonoma.
  12. ^ "Olive Salad". Williams Sonoma.
  13. ^ Ayto, John (October 18, 2012). The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199640249 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ 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]
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b c d Pfister, Max (1997). Lessico etimologico italiano (in Italian). Vol. 6. Reichert. p. 441. ISBN 978-3-89500-019-5.
  17. ^ Biblioteca del Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani: Issues 1–4 (in Italian). 1977. p. 28 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ a b Dizionario tascabile familiare siciliano-italiano (in Italian). Vol. 1. Palermo: Stamperia Spampinato. 1840. p. 66 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Pasqualino, Michele (1790). Vocabolario siciliano etimologico, italiano e latino (in Italian). Vol. 4–5. Reale Stamperia. p. 26 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Mortillaro, Vincenzo, ed. (1844). Nuovo dizionario siciliano-italiano (in Italian). Vol. 2. Tip. del Giornale letterario. p. 75 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ 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.