Newsletter 55 del 12 gennaio 2019

Dear {{NOME}},

As we approached the end of the year, there were endless best-of lists, endless discussions on the health of Italian cuisine, on the choice between creativity and tradition, on why 10 three-star restaurants in Italy are too few, and there are no pizzerias, on Naples and its never-ending competition with the rest of the world and so on.

But this is an end-of-year classic. What was different this turn of the year was the darkness I noticed, the lack of a common ground between people who, though having different opinions, should know how to have a dialogue and should be willing to listen to other people’s thoughts. But this of course was what happened in the past. It now almost seems impossible. We have problems so serious that the restaurant industry, in its various shapes, looks like a happy island. There’s plenty to do and to improve but the foundations are better than those in many other fields. Think of politics or football, for instance.

In this sense, it would be nice if this year Naples would accept the fact that pizza is a universe that goes beyond Vesuvius, Caserta’s Royal Palace and the temples in Paestum. A comparison with Juventus comes to my mind: they win cup after cup, they’re almost impossible to beat, but in order to be the first, they need competition. It’s easy to win when you’re the only one competing, but nobody would be interested. It would be best for Naples to start a real confrontation with other realities.

Happy New Year to you all,
Paolo Marchi

 

Today’s pizza is increasingly dynamic

Early in November, at the Scuola del Molino Quaglia in Vighizzolo d’Este, Padua, it was time for the 13th edition of Pizzaup, the technical symposium on contemporary Italian pizza promoted and curated by the Venetian mill and specifically by general manager Chiara Quaglia, and marketing director Piero Gabrieli. Three days of classes and discussions, with a new format.

In the old days, pizzaioli were divided into teams. Each team had to present a special pizza at the end of the congress, the result of the work accomplished after listening and sharing ideas with the participating experts – above all, Corrado Assenza, the comprehensive maestro from Caffè Sicilia in Noto. These pizzas were presented to the press, something that affected the work of most participants, as people attend Pizzaup to learn, not to compete.

A practical consequence: it was unlikely that you’d taste an unforgettable pizza.  In fact, they were always very easy to forget because they did not aim for the perfect balance and taste. They were always based on exploring new roads to be taken in the future, trying to understand what could later be applied to one’s work, what could be concretely useful and what was instead good to know, but without applying it yourself because not everything can be coherent with the choices taken in a pizzeria.

The new format removed the underlying anxiety of the past, and gave new stimuli based on three keywords: soil, fermentation and cooking. Yes, cooking, because pizza is not a standalone, it is not – it should not be – the unlucky cousin of high quality cuisine, it is one of the worlds that form the universe of our restaurant industry.

Paolo Marchi

Read more

Edit in Torino, the bakery with a Crunch

One of Renato Bosco’s pizzas at Edit

Summarising Edit is not easy. The project spreads over 2,400 square metres on two floors in the 19th century building where Incet, a historic factory in Torino, used to produce electrical cables, at the far end of the so called Miglio dell’Innovazione [the Innovation Mile] close to Dora station. This building is now the location of a multifunctional space dedicated to gastronomy. However, we’ll focus on the ground floor, where one can find the Bakery, the Pub and the Brewery, while on the first floor – also interesting – we find the Cocktail Bar, the restaurant of Matteo Monti and Kitchens (an area with four professional kitchens plus a room for cooking demos).

The vibrating heart of this place, on top of the brewery equipment for the craft beers at the BrewPub, is the oven in the Bakery,acting as a trait d’union between the different souls of this large and welcoming open space decorated in a lounge style. While since the morning in the bread and pastry making laboratory they are baking croissants, biscuits, tarts and cakes, bread rolls and sandwiches for the café, bread is also an essential part of the pub’s menu, which is decisively uncommon and larger compared to the usual offer of this kind of place.

But this had to be the case, as Pietro Leemann and Renato Bosco are also involved. The result is a delicious and fun menu, suitable for a convivial place, but one that also pays attention to the origin of the raw materials and to vegetables. On top of dishes and burgers, there’s a nice seasonal selection of pizzas created by the Veronese pizza-researcher, often interpreted with a Piedmontese approach: there’s the irresistible Crunch, for instance(there’s one with veal in tuna sauce, with veal round from Fassona Piemontese, tuna sauce and fried capers) and Doppio Crunch (like the Toast with artisanal stracchino, prosciutto cotto di Praga and toma piemontese), the steamed roll with sausage from Bra and crunchy broccoli, or Aria di Pane, the ethereal round focaccia with a thick and very light dough, stuffed with cheese and cured meat.

They are made daily by the bread making staff trained by Renatoand his collaborators in San Martino Buon Albergo (who are always in touch with them, discussing the production and creation of the stuffing). A system studied in detail, just like the dough made by Bosco, the result of an in-depth research on digestibility, which guarantees a remarkable constant quality even with significant volumes like those of the brewpub, which can have as many as 10,000 guests per month.

Luciana Squadrilli


The latest idea by the Salvo brothers: a list of vermouths

Francesco and Salvatore Salvo

By now, we’re used to the surprises offered by the Salvo brothers. After transforming the family restaurant in San Giorgio a Cremano into an emblem of “contemporary pizza”, Francesco and Salvatore have now opened a new place in a historic building in Naples. 

Or rather, we’re no longer surprised that they’re always ready to surprise us with something new: new pizzas, new carefully selected ingredients, new pairings. The latest news is the list of vermouths soon to be introduced in both places. Another brilliant idea that follows the design – thanks to the support of sommelier Pasquale Brillante – of one of the most complete lists of craft beers and wines to be found in an Italian pizzeria, including vintage editions and great labels served by the glass, thanks to the Enomaticsystem;and bubbles from Italy and France, as well as a list of Marsala wine, with few but carefully selected labels that revive the old Neapolitan tradition of serving fried pizza with the Sicilian wine. So now there’s Vermouth: the historic Piedmontese fortified wine, after regaining its popularity in the past few years so that you can now find it in every cocktail bar, is now also available in a pizzeria.

In this case too, after a long series of tastings and research, Francesco, Salvatore and Pasquale selected four labels, each one with a specific character, to be paired with as many pizzas with “remarkable” flavours. For instance, there’s vermouth Carlo Alberto Red paired with a delicious Quattro Formaggi, made with fior di latte d’Agerola, goat milk’s blue cheese matured with red fruits and roses, and, during the baking, completed with shaved matured provolone and a cream of robiola from cow and goat’s milk. The tasty Cosacca, with lots of shaved pecorino irpino, will be presented with Italian-Spanish Vermò from Ettore Velluto andJorge Ferrer. The classic Marinara with Mulassano Rosso andMargherita del Vesuvio with the historic Carpano Antica Formula.

LS


Cocciuto, an elegantly dressed pizza in Milan

The elegant dining room at Cocciuto in Milan

Cocciuto is no ordinary pizzeria. The place is truly beautiful. Through the nine windows you can look into an elegant restaurant; 260 square metres, seating 80 people, with a New York style design. The seating is comfortable, the tables are large, there’s a wise mix of Art Deco and contemporary elements, and a wine list that includes many wines from France and plenty of interesting Italian products. Antonio Caputo, from Basilicata, is the pizzaiolo. He’s very good: we already knew him from another successful place in Milan, Marghe in Via Plinio.

So the pizza is good. On top of a menu that starts with a classic Italian style antipasto (fried food, meatballs in tomato sauce, potato croquets...), they serve a round disc of pizza in the style of Pepe, using straight dough, a mix of flours to which they add living wheat germ, double maturation for at least 30 hours to guarantee a soft, fragrant, tasty and overall lighter pizza. On top of this version, there’s the pizza al metro [by the metre]. As for the toppings, they pay great attention to raw materials: oil from Frantoio Muraglia, soppressata Calabra PDO, Culatello di Zibello, many Slow Food Presidia...

Behind Cocciuto there are some serious business partners: Paolo Piacentini, an entrepreneur who has been working for 15 years in one of the most important companies in the industry of international restaurant formats, as well as the founder and creative soul of Marghe; and Michela Reginato, with previous experience in the fashion and life style industry. Their project is expanding: the next opening is scheduled in January 2019 in Via Passeroni 2, Corso Lodi. And there’s more to come...

Carlo Passera


The Briscola dilemma: pizza or pizzine?

Briscola - Pizza Society, the Foodation brand launched in 2015 in Milan, in Via Fogazzaro 9,now with four restaurants in Milan and two more in Florence, keeps on growing. It’s an expanding universe – and indeed it won the prize for "Italy’s best restaurant chains – Pizzeria 2019" from Food Service magazine – especially after Francesco Trapani, ex CEO at Bulgari and manager at Lvmh, ex executive president at Clessidra and a current shareholder at Tiffany and Tages Holding joined Foodation, the holding founded in 2013 by Riccardo Cortese and Federico Pinna.In July 2017 he bought 53% of the company through Argenta holding.

«With this turning point, we’ve entered phase two, widening the offer (Briscola now no longer offers just pizza, but a larger menu too), repositioning the brand and increasing the number of restaurants» Daniele Gargano, marketing manager at Foodation, says.So they’ll open a new Briscola restaurant in the spring, also in Milan, in the Garibaldi neighbourhood; and last June they’ve opened two place in Milan, one in Viale della Liberazione 15 (Porta Nuova) and one in Piazza Duomo (Via Marconi on the corner with Via Dogana), in front of Museo del Novecento: a real flagship for Briscola, with 400 square metres (four times bigger than the previous places) which can boast a design by architect Fabio Novembre, in charge of the restyling of all the new stores.

While the menu now offers a larger range of dishes, pizza is still the focus. It follows a Neapolitan style, but is cooked in an electric oven and the dough, made with a blend of Petra flour,matures for over 24 hours.It’s available in two versions, the classic round one, and the more popular one, the 18-20 cm pizzine,which allow to taste multiple types, in a sort of tasting menu. Thanks to the Pizza Sharing format, people often order two types of pizzine. «Guests often start by trying a more classic topping, then move to a more creative one». Among the latter, Mortadella and pistachios (fior di latte, mortadella GPI and pistachio pesto) and California (mozzarella fior di latte, smoked salmon, avocado, sun dried tomatoes and sesame seeds) are the most popular.


Pizzeria 081: Melegnano calls, Naples answers

Pizza marinara at 081

He’s been using long maturations, from 24 to 36 hours, depending on humidity and temperature. He uses a typical Neapolitan dough: mother yeast and Petra stone-milled flour from Molino Quaglia. So that clients can immediately understand where he comes from, he chose the dialling code of Naples for his name, so his restaurant, only a short walk from the Medici castle in Melegnano, in the province of Milan, is called Pizzeria 081 (via Castellini 31, Tel. +39 375 5388889, 081pizzeria.com, closed on Tuesday)

The owner is Francesco Saggese, 31. After 15 years in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants in Milan (Bulgari Hotel with chef Elio SironiIl Luogo di Aimo e NadiaMichelangelo Restaurant in Linate with chef Michelangelo Citino) he listened to his Neapolitan heart and together with his brother Davide (an accountant now working in the restaurant industry) he fulfilled his dream: he opened a real Neapolitan pizzeria though with gourmet inspiration. «When Neapolitans eat pizza, they always criticise it, examine it, praise it: those who are born in Naples have an innate passion for pizza – Francesco says – For us it’s something sacred, it’s not just a way of filling your stomach: it’s a ritual, a tradition. When I decided to open a pizzeria after visiting a few places in Milan I ended up in the province, in Melegnano, and immediately liked the place. I opened in October 2017. At first, we could only seat 50 people, we often had to send clients away or were not able to accept reservations because there were no more tables left. In March 2018 we decided to double the restaurant, creating a more elegant, soundproofed room, with dim lights, designed by my brother Davide and his wife Marta. We now seat 110 guests».

Pizzas here have strictly Neapolitan names: 'A MargheritA' Bufal, A'Norma, as well as specialties like 081 (yellow cherry tomatoes from Corbara, anchovies from Cetara, taggiasche olives, shaved caciocavallo, basil and extra virgin olive oil), Napoli 2.0 (yellow tomato, corbarino tomatoes, anchovies from Cetara, oregano and extra virgin olive oil) or Pistacchio e Murtadell. The seasonal pizzas are listed on the blackboards hanging on the walls, such as the tasty Tartufo with cream of white truffle, porcini, fior di latte from Agerola, flakes of black truffle and Parmigiano Reggiano matured 24 months, or Zucca, with pumpkin cream, smoked provola, sausage, porcini and oil aromatised with rosemary.

Roberta Rampini


The new pizza at Identità Golose Milano

Viaggiando al Nord is the result of a collaboration between the great master Franco Pepe and Gabriele Tangari

In the photo, Viaggiando al Nord, one of the pizzas you can enjoy at Identità Golose Milano, the first international hub of gastronomy, in Via Romagnosi 3Viaggiando al Nord is born from the collaboration between the great master Franco Pepe, who signs the pizza menu at Identità Golose Milano, and Gabriele Tangari, born in Milan in 1991. He’s the pastry chef at the hub, but he’s also working with great passion at the dough for the pizza, and for this reason he completed an internship at Pepe’s pizzeria in Geneva.

Tangari has been working for three years with Andrea Ribaldone, who coordinates the kitchens at Identità Golose Milano; before that, he worked at Uve in the Langhe, at Mudec with Enrico Bartolini and at Park Hyatt. His pastry-making master was Luigi Biasetto.

InViaggiando al Nord there’s Franco Pepe’s dough, using Petra Evolutiva flour, plus a topping of raspadura, rocket, bresaola from Valtellina, lemons from Garda and the crispy part of the Milanese cutlet. Lovely.


Alessandro Coppari, (over) Mezzometro of pizza

Una delle pizze di Mezzometro, sedi a Senigallia e Jesi

Where can you eat pizza “by the meter”? In the Peninsula of Sorrento, of course, the home to this type of “made-to-measure” pizza where they registered the patent in the Sixties; but not only there. Alessandro Coppari makes an excellent one in Senigallia (and Jesi), different from the original, though that was what inspired him. Of course he called his restaurant Mezzometro (Lungomare Da Vinci 33. Tel. +39 071 60578, senigallia.mezzometro.it), which in our opinion is the minimum size you should order to enjoy his pizza.

The career that led him to become one of the most appreciated pizzaioli in the Marche – and beyond – is peculiar. After being a professional baseball player, and working as a metalworker, Alessandro decided to drop everything and follow his passion for pizza. He ended up in Calabria, to learn the job, and then returned to Senigallia where a season as aiuto-pizzaiolo made him fall in love with pizza for good, and led him to deepen his knowledge with more courses and experiences in the Marche. Four years later, he took over that same place on Lungomare Da Vinci where he first began, as they were going through a rough patch.

He took the challenge, and decided to focus on pizza al metro – following what he learnt from Riccardo Menon – to whom he dedicated the restaurant. «Here in Senigallia there’s lots of work in the summer, but winters are hard. We needed something different, we had to rethink the service and the menu so I decided to offer pizza by the metre». He won the bet, and in 2010 Mezzometro opened a second branch in Jesi run by his brother Alessio.

The secret? A light and easy to digest dough (based on stone-milled flour, with high hydration and a long and careful maturation. Indeed, Mezzometro is a Petra Selected Partner) and seasonings based on a nice selection of often local raw materials (a constant work in progress, Coppari is currently attending a professional cooking course in Torino) like the pizza alla pala with Pecorino from Monti Sibillini and broad beans from Fratte Rosa or the one with fresh tomato, garlic, chilli pepper confit, basil and prawns with saffron cooked in oil.

Part of the merit also goes to the sharing format which invites you to go back to taste some more. They now have 4 – sometimes 5 – types of dough: the pizza alla pala baked in the wood oven (soft, like the Neapolitan one, but baked on the peel in the Roman tradition), the traditional red one, the gluten free pizza and the “gourmet” focaccia, often with “alternative” flour, served in slices and with well-researched seasonings. In this case, the special texture, crispy outside and soft inside, is guaranteed by the poolish made with mother yeast and a gel of jarvicella wheat, anancient variety from the Marche whose stalks are traditionally used to make the hay hats typical of Montappone.

LS


Doro Gourmet, zero-meter pizza

Luca Doro

The province of Caserta proves to be a land as fertile as ever for pizza, which here is often a meeting of the truest tradition of Campania and of innovation and modernity. The story of Luca Doro and his “gourmet” pizzeria in Macerata Campania, a few km from the Royal Palace of Caserta is a story of passion and resilience.

Third generation in a family of bakers and farmers – growing hemp, tobacco and fruit– Luca found his opportunity for accomplishment in pizza. In 2000 he opened a taka-away pizza place but then realised that in order to make a difference you need research, inventive, experience. So he attended courses and completed internships, researched in detail, then closed the restaurant and started travelling and working around the world: Europe, South America, United States and beyond too, on board cruise ships. He came back home six years ago, and opened a new restaurant called Doro Gourmet in Via Trieste (tel. +39 0823 693157). At first it was only a take-away place, but since last summer it’s become a welcoming real pizzeria.

«I used all the ideas and all my travelling as inspiration for my pizza», he says. While many of his pizzas are inspired by his memories and homeland, he joined the Alleanza Slow Food project and included over 50 Presidia from all around Italy in his menu. The base is an “evolved” take on Neapolitan tradition, with a dough that starts from poolish (with Petra 1 from Molino Quaglia) to which he adds Petra 3 and the Allegrablend. The result is a soft disc but slightly thicker than the standard Neapolitan one (and on Fridays there’s the one made only from Evolutivaflour).

The creative seasonings instead draw from the family vegetable garden or from small local producers, but most of all they draw from local and personal memories, matching them with more recent episodes: as in the Marinara dell’Alleanza, a tribute to the family, with self-produced yellow and red Piennolo tomatoes, capers from Salina, menaica anchovies, hill oregano and garlic from Nubia, pine nuts and sultana, which his grandmother would make herself, and then would add to the pizza as a snack for her grandchildren when they returned from school. And then there’s the pizza with endive, the one with annurca apples (with a cream of fruits and spices baked in the wood oven, served with buffalo milk mozzarella from Latte Nobile and Conciato Romano), the one with octopus carpaccio (inspired by his grandfather, who sold brodo ‘e purpo at the fish market in Porta Nolana in Naples) or Pizzellessa, inspired by a typical recipe – pastellessa, pasta with boiled chestnuts – but served on pizza, with guanciale from Nero Casertano pigs, Conciato Romano and powdered Columbian coffee: «an aroma of South America that recalls my travels and is a homage to my Mexican-Colombian wife».

Luca Doro is a Petra Selected Partner.

LS