Breadsticks, one of the most famous products of the gastronomy of Piedmont, have been "invented" by a guy from Lanzo in collaboration with the baker of the House of Savoy.
As a matter of fact, according to the tradition they were invented in 1684 to try to meet the worries of Maria Giovanna Battista from Nemours, mother of Vittorio Amedeo Duke of Savoy (the son of Carlo Emanuele of Savoy). Vittorio Amedeo had always been a weak child, and it was difficult to make him eat. In order to fortify him, his mom asked the court physician, Dr. Teobaldo Pecchio from Lanzo, what to do. He prescribed him a diet based on crumbly and easily digestible bread and, with the help of the court baker, called Antonio Brunero, prepared long and very thin sticks with flour and water, dividing the dough and rolling pieces of it with the hands. Then he baked the breadsticks in the oven until they had become golden-brown.
We do not know whether the child liked them or not, but they had an international success. The European courts, the French court first, wanted to taste the "petits batons de Turin". Napoleon liked breadsticks so much that he regularly sent imperial couriers to Turin to purchase them.
As a matter of fact, the water and the air of Paris never gave the opportunity to prepare a product resembling the breadsticks of Piedmont.
Today breadsticks are still a successful product. Sometimes also milk, malt, oil or yeast are added (although the traditional recipe does not include them).