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From top left, clockwise: muffuletta cross section, muffuletta in wrappers, olive salad, circular muffuletta loaves
CourseMain courses
Place of originItaly
Region or stateSicily
Main ingredientsOne muffuletta loaf,
marinated olive salad,
layers of mortadella, salami, Swiss cheese, ham, provolone

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


The muffuletta sandwich was created in 1906 at Central Grocery Co. on Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, by its delicatessen counter worker Salvatore Lupo.[2][3] Sicilians, however, have been making various versions of the bread for centuries. It is commonly eaten during celebration days. In Palermo it is most commonly eaten on the Day of the Dead, November 2.[4][better source needed]


A muffuletta is a large, round, and somewhat flattened loaf with a sturdy texture, around 10 inches (25 cm) across. It is described as being somewhat similar to focaccia.[5]


A traditional-style muffuletta sandwich consists of a muffuletta loaf[6] split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella.[7] Quarter, half, and full-sized muffulettas are sold.[8][9]

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.[10]

A muffuletta is usually served cold, but many vendors will toast it.[8] This was mentioned in the PBS special Sandwiches That You Will Like.

Pronunciation and orthography[edit]

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:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lempert, Phil (September 17, 2007). "Is the best sandwich in America the muffaletta?". Today. MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-05-10. The secret ingredient, besides the special recipe for the sesame bread, is Central Grocery’s homemade olive spread.
  2. ^ Orchant, Rebecca (12 February 2013). "The Muffuletta: New Orleans' Original Italian Sandwich". Food & Drink. Huffington Post. Oath Inc.
  3. ^ "1906: The muffuletta is created in New Orleans". Times-Picayune. NOLA Media Group. 10 October 2011.
  4. ^ Barreca, Francesca (21 January 2010). "L'originale muffuletta". The Fooders (in Italian).
  5. ^ Herman, Michael (16 March 2012). "New Orleans Street Foods, Snacks, & Sandwiches: Po' Boys, Oysters, Muffulettas, Beignets, Pralines". New York Food Journal.
  6. ^ "Leidenheimer Baking Company".
  7. ^ "Best Muffulettas in the French Quarter and Nearby".
  8. ^ a b Squires, Kathleen (21 April 2016). "The 5 Best Muffuletta Sandwiches in New Orleans" – via
  9. ^ "Muffuletta". Williams Sonoma.
  10. ^ "Olive Salad". Williams Sonoma.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b c d Pfister, Max (1997). Lessico etimologico italiano (in Italian). 6.1. Reichert. p. 441. ISBN 978-3-89500-019-5 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Biblioteca del Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani: Issues 1–4 (in Italian). 1977. p. 28 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ a b Pitrè, Giuseppe (1889). Usi e costumi, credenze e pregiudizi del popolo siciliano (in Italian). 17. L. P. Lauriel di C. Clausen. p. 360 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Ciccarelli, Diego; Valenza, Marisa Dora, eds. (2006). La Sicilia e l'Immacolata: non solo 150 anni. Collana Franciscana (in Italian). 15. Officina di Studi Medievali. p. 39. ISBN 978-88-88615-96-7 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ a b Dizionario tascabile familiare siciliano-italiano (in Italian). 1. Palermo: Stamperia Spampinato. 1840. p. 66 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Pasqualino, Michele (1790). Vocabolario siciliano etimologico, italiano e latino (in Italian). 4–5. Reale Stamperia. p. 26 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ Mortillaro, Vincenzo, ed. (1844). Nuovo dizionario siciliano-italiano (in Italian). 2. Tip. del Giornale letterario. p. 75 – via Google Books.

External links[edit]