Newsletter 54 del 21 novembre 2018

Dear {{NOME}},

A few days ago, in Vighizzolo d’Este, near Padua, the 2018 edition of PizzaUp took place at Molino Quaglia. The event also opens this newsletter. Among the novelties I’d like to mention, there’s the Almanacco delle Pizza, whose goal is to illustrate the moments that changed the way we look at the most famous Italian dish in the world. It’s basically a review of the past 20 years seen through the tale of 15 pizzaioli and their ideas, crucial brilliant ideas that made nothing look like before.

It is no longer enough – not for a couple of years now – to take a well-focused photo of a pizza Margherita or a Quattro stagioni and post it online. It’s time that the masters, and the crucial moments that marked their life, are recorded with certainty, online and offline. Only by doing so we can give even more importance to these professionals and their contributions. This is the first issue, others will follow.

Paolo Marchi




On Monday 5th of November, PizzaUp was back, with its 13th edition. This year the format was completely new, compared to the previous 12 editions. The theme was be across-the-board:  the interactions between climate and cereal cultivation techniques, milling techniques, the transformations caused by fermenting dough, up to a more complete vision of how pizza can interpret the benefits of the Mediterranean diet through its regional versions.

Each day we had a theme and each theme was analysed by speakers from universities, farming, and a team of cooks and dough technicians for whom this topic is a daily commitment.

Monday 5th November: soil – The relationship between food and climate is as close as ever, because natural cuisine must follow the rhythm of the seasons. The fact ingredients change in quality should not be considered as a bias, but as something that must be enhanced with the right techniques. In the morning there was a speech by professor Salvatore Ceccarelli, a researcher and internationally renowned expert who personally experimented and then introduced in Italy the cultivation of the evolutive mix of wheat; later it was the turn of Giuseppe Li Rosi who is now the keeper of the seeds that make that mix and from which our Petra Evolutiva is born. Later, in the afternoon, there were four workshops at the same time: Giulia Miatto and Giovanni Marchetto on specific techniques on dough for pizza and focaccia with a blend of different cereals, Eugenio BoerAndrea Mattei and Cristian Torsiello with a master class on their way of interpreting the relationship between soil and cooking followed by a cooking workshop in teams.

Tuesday 6th November: fermentations – The premise is that these processes were originally introduced to preserve ingredients before refrigerators were invented. Today, knowing how to control the fermentation process, instead, creates new possibilities in terms of flavours, texture and nutrients. Just think of how mother yeast can make the organoleptic experience of eating pizza even more noble: it enhances the aromas of other ingredients, reduces the glycaemic peak and the inflammatory tendency of gluten. And then there’s the fermentation of vegetables, as well as meat and fish. Four workshops took place at the same time, with an encore of the one on dough made from different cereals, and, in the afternoon, an experimental one on the different organoleptic and nutritional features of mother yeasts originating from different cereals. Finally there were three masterclasses on the topic, followed by team workshops directed by Alessandro Dal DeganOliver Piras and Wicky Priyan.

Wednesday 6th November: different cuisines – Today it is hard to think of pizza without knowing cooking techniques that are respectful of the ingredients used. Mastering heat, the different cooking timings, the cutting and the frying of vegetables, the processing of meat and fish, are only some examples of techniques that must be a part of a contemporary pizzaiolo’s knowledge. We started with an encore of the experimental workshop on mother yeast (with Giulia Miatto and Giovanni Marchetto) and, at the same time, two masterclasses on the same topic, followed by workshops in teams, directed by Corrado Assenza and Lionello Cera. Finally, the afternoon programme ended with a speech by Corrado Assenza on the metamorphosis of the chef (and pizzaiolo?) halfway between performance and cooking, followed by a debate on this topic with the journalists invited to the symposium. 

More details on

Piero Gabrieli


L'ALMANACCO – The original souls who made the history of contemporary pizza

Who was the first pizzaiolo in the past 25 years to bravely use an innovative idea in the making of dough for pizza? And who was the first to use fresh and seasonal ingredients? Who first enhanced the connection with farmers and soil? Who did redefine the balance between water, flour and yeast so as to make a lighter dough? And who was the first to imagine and create a fine dining future for pizza? 

There are people who use their ideas and their passion for their work, to make their innovative vision come true. Not just to surprise or for the sake of coming first, but to give a contribution so that the values they received in the past can be shared in the future. These people are witnesses of what was good in the past, and spontaneously dedicate their life so that those good products can have a future, creating original and contemporary consumption experiences and products. By doing so, they become role models, and show a charisma that induces others to give variety to the original idea, finding new expressions that enrich the food culture.

It is to these pizzaioli, and to those of the future, that the Almanacco is dedicated. It illustrates the turning point that made them change the world of pizza while making sure that these original pizzas are not overshadowed by soulless copies.

Each year, there’s going to be a new issue of the Almanacco della Pizza, always full of photos, videos, recipes and original content. Year after year it will record the history of contemporary pizza so as to highlight the work and creativity of the “ingenious” pizzaioli who become a role model. The goal is create a timeline for ideas, visions and new developments in the field of contemporary pizza and link each innovation in terms of recipe, communication, consumption experience, to its author. 

It will be the evolution of the Università della Pizza® project. The latter was also born from an original idea and grew year after year to educate and strengthen the real connection between soil, craftmanship, dough techniques and the creation of recipes that must become cultural tassels and not just an extra line in a pizzeria’s menu. 

Recording how everything happened, how it happens every day, connecting it to people of unique sensitivity and creativity, is a necessary step to avoid that soulless copies will be more credible than their original version. To reserve a copy, visit

Massimo Travaglini, starting over, from Fokaccia

Massimo Travaglini

Liguria is a beautiful and unlucky land, too often devastated by an unfriendly nature. Yet the people of Liguria – stuck like rocks to their coast – always know how to rise again and move on. In fact, they aim even higher. So while on television and on social networks painful images of the two damaged Riviere appeared, speaking with Massimo Travaglini of the success of his format dedicated to a gourmet and contemporary take on Ligurian focaccia was not ill-timed. In fact, it’s a call to action.

After working in the bread-making sector for many years – a job that led him to travel around the world, and made him particularly sensitive to novelties – in 2009 with his wife Nina he opened Briciole, a pizzeria and delicatessen not too far from Brignole station. Destroyed by the floods that hit the town in 2011 and in 2014, they faced a difficult choice: should they stay and start from scratch, or go abroad in search for luck? They took the former road, not forgetting the idea of taking Genovese focaccia – a culinary pride of the town and a jewel crown of Travaglini’s – abroad as well.

This is how Fokaccia - Italia cooking and lounge was born: a nice restaurant in the centre of the town, a short walk from the Carlo Felice theatre, focused on high quality food, modern but upscale and with a strong identity. «Starting over at 45 was hard, but we decided to stay here, though with a different concept. Our restaurant is an urban place, it’s open from morning to night. Our varied clientele appreciates quality, and it’s the perfect model to export to other towns and abroad. We make all our flour-based products, from pasta to focacce, ourselves. Differentiation is important and these days you can only do so by choosing high quality», Travaglini explains.

So he placed his bet on Genovese focaccia, and fine-tuned a “secret” recipe. It’s unique but can be repeated, and is focused on good ingredients and digestibility. «The choice of flour is crucial, and then of course there’s the extra virgin olive oil which must be light and delicate». As for the former ingredient, he uses Unica (Petra 5037), which results in a crispy and light product, while for the wholewheat focaccia, which are also available to take away as the base for filled sandwiches, he uses Petra 9

«It’s a revolutionary focaccia, the wheat flavour is prominent», says Massimo, who teaches his tricks at the Scuola del Molino. Even the toppings for his focacce – actually, fokacce – are revolutionary, and available in many versions. They give the dough a special nuance. For instance, take the one with squid ink or with spices. So in the menu, on top of surf and turf dishes, you can find items such as Fokaccia with ginger and bisque of prawns from Santa Margherita with prawns fried in brandy and mixed lettuce,Fokaccia with buffalo milk stracciatella and white truffleFokaccia with burnt wheat and cream of taggiasche olives, Spanish salami and fig compote orFokaccia with squid ink, with Red King salmon marinated in teriyaki with oranges, lettuce and caviar.

«I believe this is the new frontier for focaccia, a perfect product for Genoa and not just for Genoa. I noticed a strong interest abroad too, from Kazakhstan to the United States». Indeed, after a second restaurant soon to open, a perfect place for events in town, and a restaurant in Milan, he’s strongly focused on crossing the Italian border. Those who don’t give up, go far. (Luciana Squadrilli)

Fokaccia - Italia cooking and lounge
largo San Giuseppe 2, Genova
Tel. +39 010 561587

Pizza in a baking tin arrives in Milan: Pizzottella...

Pizzottella’s Doppia Mortazza

In the geography of Italian pizza – which once had strict, almost impossible-to-cross boundaries and whose frontiers are now much more open – pizza al taglio, usually baked in a baking tin or using a peel, and sold according to weight, not to slice, is mostly a tradition of Lazio and the surroundings, its capital being Rome. Here, in its street food version, it’s the pizza par excellence, for breakfast, a snack, lunch, later replaced by the round one for dinner. Roman pizza in a baking tin, however, is now available in Milan as well, with some excellent new places joining a few pioneers – like Pandemonium, in Via Augusto Anfossi, 19 – thus breaking the Milanese monopoly of Spontini and their slices.

The person bringing the real Roman tradition, in spirit as well as in terms of the sauces added to the crispy, light and truly delicious dough, is young Jacopo Mercuro. Before standing out together with Mirko Rizzo with his round, thin and crunchy Roman pizza, with a new take served at 180g in Rome, he left a legal career to work with pizza al taglioat Mani in Pasta. He was called by David Ranucci, a successful restaurateur in Via Muratori, a short walk from Porta Romana (and later in the US), who has built a small culinary empire based on the cuisine of Lazio, with Giulio Pane e Ojo, Casa Tua e Abbottega.

But pizza was missing, and of course it had to be the Roman one par excellence, in the baking tin, which is now available at Pizzottella: the restaurant is small and cute, with a nice counter and pretty décor (even in the basement) where you can have lunch or dinner and taste some delicious pizza, sold in 15x15cm square slices for the price of 3.90 or 4.90 euro depending on the topping. Order from the counter, and then the waiters will serve the pizza to be eaten strictly using your hands. Jacopo has fine-tuned the pizza, which is baked daily by his collaborator Vittorio Giuliani. Regulars include some great Roman classics, such as carbonara, cacio e pepe, gricia, amatriciana, the excellent doppia mortazza, plus seasonal recipes such as the one with onion, friggitelli peppers, potatoes and smoked paprika. (LS)

Via Lodovico Muratori 8, Milan
Tel. +39 02 49534230

...and 'O Fiore Mio. Taste the Pizza Bauscia

Another recent opening in Milan focused on pizza al taglio, this time via Emilia Romagna, is ‘O Fiore MioDavide Fiorentini’s pizzeria, first born in Faenza and now open in Piazza Argentina 4 tooas of September, bringing to Milan the “street-pizza” format already successfully launched in Bologna.

In this case the format is strictly “Roman”: the pizza is sold according to weight (or in the 40x60 centimetres maxi size). The dough is created in the workshop in Faenza – coordinated by Fiorentini with his right arm Jonathan Trombini, while Amanuel Fanuel Tecle trains the new pizzaioli – and the toppings are based on selected, high quality products from all around Italy: there’s Bufalina with mozzarella di bufala campana PDO and San Marzano tomato, Vegetariana with fresh seasonal vegetables.

Of course, there’s a tribute to Lombardy too, with Bauscia: cream of rice and saffron, sausage, taleggio and mixed sprouts.

‘O Fiore Mio
Piazza Argentina, 4, 20124 Milan MI
Tel. +39 02 29523874

Pizza at Birra del Borgo’s Banconi, in Rome

After opening Osteria di Birra del Borgo in Prati, in Rome – very popular for its “house” beers and for the pizza baked in the tin by Luca Pezzetta (andthe other dishes too) – the brewery created by Leonardo Di Vincenzo now arrives in the capital with the Bancone format. Available since 2016 in their headquarters in Borgorose, the format allows visitors to taste various beers, paired with some simple but properly made dishes, enjoying the brewery as a place to meet and socialize.

The same spirit – as well as the same visual identity linked to the brand from Lazio, from the brass counter to the tower logo – is featured in the two new places in town. There’s Bancone di Pigneto, created as an essentially “on the road” place seating 40 people outside and 12 by the counter, with seven BdB draught beers and classic and beer-based cocktails to be matched with small snacks. And Bancone in Piazza Bologna which, seating 40 people in the dining room and 24 outside, on top of being suitable for an aperitif can also welcome guests for dinner, with 10 draught beers, cocktails and a culinary offer that ranges from fried food to sandwiches, to high quality selections of charcuterie and cheese, and most of all pizza, with dough and toppings supervised by Pezzetta.



Friedi Schmuck: from the Dolomites to the Hyblean Mountains

Friedi Schmuck

How come a pizza with a dough with Tyrolese spices, topped with mountain cheese, craft speck, graukäse and Gewurztraminer gelatine, is in the menu – or actually among the specials, presented in an event in Torino with Massimiliano Prete and Gabriele Bonci – of a Sicilian pizzeria?

Let’s step back: Friederick Schmuck was born 40 years ago in Rome. However, as you can easily tell by his name his father and grandfather were originally from Bressanone and he spent every childhood holiday in the shades of the Dolomites. Then, at 11, he moved to the island where his mother was born, to Siracusa. «I was raised in Rome, at Olgiata; I played with my friends outside, and consider myself a Roman. But I have a very strong connection with Alto Adige and its flavours, especially now that my father is no longer with us», he says. For many years now, however, his home has been in Ortigia.

After a long experience in the tourism industry, he widened his horizons and, influenced by his mother’s love for cooking too, he approached the world of wine and attended AIS’s courses. Then, in 2011, he decided to open a restaurant with pizzeria, Piano B: «In Siracusa there was no Roman pizza, the round, thin and crispy kind. So that’s what we focused on. But we also make pizza on the peel, which was unprecedented here. We brought a breath of fresh air».

Friedi returned to Rome for a few months, and attended the Api courses held by Angelo Iezzi and Massimiliano Bacich. His initialplan, however, was to take care of the dining room. When his pizzaiolo left, though, he had to put his fingers in the pie. Meanwhile, finding out about Molino Quaglia and attending the courses at the Scuola del Molino opened his horizons with regards to leavening and flour: «It was a turning point. From that moment on, I was totally captured by my passion for pizza. Who would have imagined I’d spend days on end in the pizzeria taking care of leavenings and dough. I can’t help it!».

He serves as many as five types of dough at Piano B: there’s the “Roman” pizza, thin (with balls of 180 g, as per tradition) and the “napoletana evoluta” type, with a nice and thick edge; there’s the dough with spontaneous fermentation, from hydrolysis, and the pizza cooked in a pan with a whole-wheat dough. «I’m currently working with Evolutiva too, a natural mix of original tender wheat, and I’m very happy with the results», Friedi continues.As for the toppings, of course, on top of Alto Adige and the best products he selects all around Italy, there’s wide space for Sicily and its excellences, as in the Nebrodipizza: smoked provola, potatoes, leek and pork jowl from black Sicilian pigs from the province of Messina, which you can add to a dough of your choice among those available. (LS)

Piano B
Via Cairoli 18, Siracusa
tel. +39 0931 66851