Italian Centre Shop’s Signature Panino - Alberta’s Favourite Sandwich
HOT OR MILD? An infamous question asked by many upon arriving at the grab and go lunch coolers at any of our locations. Albertans have fond memories of this handheld favourite which has become a staple in weekly shopping lists. In fact, we’ve heard stories of this legendary sandwich being consumed in parked cars in our parking lots before heading off to the next destination as a family ritual. We asked a few notable fans how they like to enjoy the Spinelli’s panino and what keeps them coming back for more; it might just inspire you to try one for yourself!
Jennifer Crosby - Global Edmonton Anchor:
“A delicious Italian Centre sandwich was the first thing I ate after delivering my oldest daughter...My wonderful husband delivered one to me right in the hospital....with a latte on the side to complete a perfect moment.”
What keeps her coming back to the shop for more? “Life!” she says! It’s her “go-to meal when days get hectic” and she wants a meal that’s easy and delicious.
“I buy a couple mild paninis at a time and I rip into half of it the second I get into my car, and save the other half to look forward to and I cut one into fingers for the kids' lunches.”
Shaye Ganam - 630 CHED in Edmonton Global News Radio 770 CHQR in Calgary:
“I’ve been a huge fan as long as I can remember. Decades. For years I’d grab them whenever I was in the neighbourhood near Little Italy.”
His love affair with the shop’s sandwiches really peaked when the south side location opened, only two blocks from the Global Edmonton TV studios where he worked for 21 years. Shaye said he enjoyed “Hot Italian paninis...at least twice a week. MINIMUM. Sometimes four or five days a week!”
So how does Shaye think the panino is best enjoyed? “...microwave it for 50 seconds - not 45 seconds, not 55 seconds - FIFTY SECONDS. The bread softens up, Provolone just starts to melt. It's perfection! Then I’d settle into my dressing room chair and enjoy!!”
Chef Jan Hansen - SAIT Culinary Instructor:
Chef Jan Hansen has loved the panino since the early 80’s.
“As a kid I watched the staff slice the meat & cheese then build the sandwiches behind the counter at the original Spinelli’s Italian Centre Shop and it was the longest drive home from North to South Edmonton! I couldn’t wait to get home so we could eat them!”
For Chef Jan, the thing that sticks out the most is that the panino has stood the test of time since his first bite in the 80s - “this sando has not changed one bit!”
So how does he best enjoy his favourite panino? He says: “It’s amazing just the way it is! Why mess with perfection.” Generally himself and his wife can barely wait to get home to enjoy the sandwich so they’ll eat half on the drive. And what about the best beverage to go with each delectable bite? Chef Jan says “the famous Orangina” is the only beverage that works.
Carmen Cheng, Food writer and blogger FoodKarma
Calgary-based Carmen Cheng has been shopping at the Italian Centre Shop since 2011 when she lived in Edmonton for a year.
“I’ve spent more time in Alberta this year because of travel restrictions, so the Spinelli’s panino makes for a delicious portable lunch for hiking or camping. It’s a great sandwich to bring along and share with friends.”
She likes to enjoy panini in the great outdoors with a canned cocktail. But, when at home she opts to “heat it up in a pan just for a bit until the cheese gets a little gooey.”
If you’re at the shop and looking for a beverage to pair with your panino, Carmen recommends the Casamara Amaro sodas!