I'm not the first person to pronounce bruschetta incorrectly but, occasionally, it's deliberate. If I say, "We'd like the 'bru-sket-ta'," many servers don't understand. I then point to it on the menu and they will attempt to correct me: "So you'd like the 'bru-shet-ta?'"

If I say it incorrectly, it's easier all around.

However it's pronounced, the name refers to the bread, not the topping. Technically, it's just "toast" but, instead of being put in a machine, the bread for bruschetta should be grilled, so it's slightly charred and has a smoky flavour. It's then rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.

That's the purest version. More often than not, though, other toppings are added. They can be as simple as sliced salumi, or olives and chopped fresh tomato (ripe and sweet) seasoned with salt and basil; or a little more complicated, such as chicken livers that have been sautéed with garlic and seasoned with lemon zest then mashed into a rough paste, or warm caponata with a slice of buffalo mozzarella.

SoHo Italian bar-restaurant Stazione Novella is on right track

Of course, it's essential to use the right type of bread: save the soft, even-textured stuff for your sandwiches. Bruschetta should be made with something that has a lot more texture.

Although an Italian mama might frown on it, you can get creative with bruschetta toppings. For sweet bruschetta, omit the garlic but drizzle the grilled bread with olive oil. Spread a layer of grated or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate on top, then grill the bread for a little longer, so the chocolate melts, before sprinkling with rough-flaked sea salt. Or instead of the bittersweet chocolate, add sliced bananas to a layer of Nutella and, again, a sprinkling of salt.