Ultimate Guide to Italian Panini: History, Varieties, and FAQ

Ultimate Guide to Italian Panini: History, Varieties, and FAQ

Welcome to Golóso, where authentic Italian flavours come alive! In this blog post, we invite you to embark on a culinary journey exploring the world of Italian panini, from its rich history to the mouthwatering varieties we have at our focacceria and gourmet deli in the heart of Soho, London. As one of the top cafés on Greek Street, we know how to make your head turn with the wafting smell of freshly baked and grilled bread and get your itching to return for another taste of our delectable treats and filling meal options. 

What is a Traditional Panini Sandwich? 

A traditional Italian Panini (like the ones you’ll find at Golóso, Focacceria and Deli in Soho) is made up of thick crusty bread, a range of Italian fillings such as cured ham, authentic cheeses, and Mediterranean vegetables. 

Crucially, a panini sandwich is also grilled or cooked between two flat hot plates to heat it up. When pressed firmly during cooking, our chefs ensure an even cook with a crispy outside and warm fillings (and perhaps some melted cheese, yum!). 

Sandwich Vs Panini: What Differentiates Then? 

You may also be wondering what the difference between an Italian panini and a traditional sandwich could be. Technically a sandwich is any filling (usually meat or cheese, or both) between two slices of bread. Therefore, paninis are a type of sandwich using thicker bread which is pressed together and grilled.  

Origins of the Italian Panini

No history lesson is as good as a history lesson about food (or this could just be the Italian in us talking!). 

As mentioned, the panini is cooked with a super hot sandwich press. The hot press was designed about 100 years ago by Thomas Edison (the man who invented the lightbulb). However, it wasn’t until a little later that people started using sandwich presses at home and in cafés and sandwich bars. 

There are records in books and articles from the 1960s accounting for the panini’s origin in Lombardy, Italy. They instantly became popular lunch choices as an easy way to enjoy a filling, nutritious, quick lunch for many busy workers. 

Paninis, like many Italian staples, gained popularity overseas in the UK and the US once Italians emigrated to these regions and brought the most delicious meals with them. More people loved these staple foods when they became a trendy food to enjoy in cities across the world. 

Traditional Italian Panini Varieties To Try 

Alongside our established and diverse breakfast menu, the Golóso menu is packed with focaccia sandwiches and panini varieties for you to try. 

Our panini menu highlights two exquisite filling options on our homemade bread using our family Italian panini bread recipes. Better yet, you can enjoy a panini at Golóso for just £5.50:

  • The Spianata Piccante-Provola Affumicata
  • The Prosciutto Cotto-Emmental


Here are some FAQs about Paninis we get most often at our café, but if you have any more burning questions or Italian Panini ideas please feel free to message our friendly team on social media

What is a Panini in Italian? 

Panini is an Italian word that means small bread rolls in English. In Italian, a singular sandwich is called a Panino. 

Therefore, you would use the work panini to refer to multiple Paninos. However, most people in the UK misuse the word Panini to refer to a single sandwich, so we have chosen to use this on our Italian menu for ease of understanding between our chefs and lovely customers. 

What kind of bread is Italian panini bread? 

Any bread that can withstand the heat of benign toasted and offer a thick heart texture to a panini can be used to make a panini. However, ciabatta is usually the most common bread to use for paninis. 

Are there vegetarian or vegan options for Italian paninis at Golóso?

The two Italian paninis we have we have on the Golóso menu include Italian lunch meats and cheese. Nevertheless, we are more than happy to make some switches to accommodate your dietary needs with veggie-friendly fillings such as sun-dried tomatoes, rocket, red onion, basil, artichokes, and black olives. However, please note that we do use meat and dairy products in our kitchen and with our panini press. 

Why does Golóso not list the Italian panini calories?

As you may have noticed from our menu, we chose not to list the calories for each meal. The new UK government rules dictate that calorie information will be shown on menus of establishments with more than 250 employees. Golóso is a small family-run business with only a handful of employees. Therefore, we don’t need to show the calorie information on our menu and choose to allow people who are avoiding this information a tasty option for breakfast or lunch. 

Where to Buy the Best Italian Panini 

A panini is an Italian sandwich grilled to toast the bread and heat the tasty Italian fillings. But fortunately, you don’t need to wait until Nation Sandwich Day on 3rd November to enjoy a tasty Italian panini at Golóso

We have two fantastic options to choose from on our menu, so stop by and enjoy an authentic Italian panini with us. We can’t wait to see you at our Focacceria and Deli in Soho soon! We are open weekdays from 7 am to 6 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm, giving you ample time to head down and try our menu. 

Until that sweet day, check out the Golóso UK Instagram to see all the food and drink options we have. We are partial to sharing a cup of perfectly brewed Italian coffee with Insta-wrothy latte art and a shot or two of our homemade focaccia.