The origins of the Piedmontese 'ghersin' are curiously noble. In fact, the young Vittorio Amedeo di Savoia, the future king of Italy, had a poor appetite and could not digest breadcrumbs. So Antonio Brunero, the court baker, had the idea of rolling out the bread dough into long breadsticks and baking it until it dried out so that it would be crispier, lighter and easier to digest. Not only did it help Vittorio Amedeo, but its success quickly spread to the rest of the region. In Piedmont, we call these Grissini, and they are most often hand-drawn to keep the tradition alive.
Recipes are lost in time, but if today we can still munch on the original version, we owe it to Brusa: a historic bakery in Biella.