Newsletter 62 del 05 novembre 2019

Dear {{NOME}},

While Pier Daniele Seu presented the future of pizza at the latest edition of LSDM in Paestum, a piece you can read here, restaurant entrepreneur Vittorio Borgia who opened his second Bioesserì in Milan, Porta Nuova, said he’d be satisfied if he were to understand what was right ahead of him. No divination stretching into the distant future.

Indeed, his is a short time span because the restaurant at 11 Via Amerigo Vespucci still can’t offer pizza, even though everything is ready and functioning. Except there’s something missing: the pizzaiolo. He literally cannot find one, unless he asks the Arabs who, despite their skill, have a different sensitivity and professionality. They lack in terms of high-quality dough and leavening. He would have to make do, and he’s not up to it. This way, however, he’s stuck.

In Milan perhaps they’re opening too many pizzerias without much thought. And the sector suffers from this, that is if you want to do things properly.

Paolo Marchi




Empathy is a relatively young word, and, in the meantime, it describes an attitude as ancient as man. The person who invented this word (see used it to describe "the aesthetic attitude of the artist capable of projecting his emotions in his creations through a process of identification". Later empathy referred to the attitude "of the person who creates a harmonious relationship with others, understanding their spirit, thus being in harmony with the feelings and the emotions of others". 

Empathy appears both when we experience the emotions of the artist, in front of his work, and when we offer our attention to others, putting our own preoccupations and thoughts aside, and focusing on understanding their feelings and needs. This twofold capacity of creating harmony between others and the result of our work, and between ourselves and the feeling of others, is a lever of success in a market where concrete experiences (tasting a pizza) and imaginative experiences (quickly scrolling photos and videos on social networks) follow one another without any interruption. 

The challenge for the pizzerias of the future will be that of making sure the substance of the dish is coherent with the Instagram’s aesthetics, in a context of communication between dining room and the web, where if you’re empathic with clients they will be willing to trust you with the emotions of a dish. After all, how can we continue to speak of pizza with endless words in a world that’s focusing on images?

Visit the website and find out more about the 14th edition of the symposium of Italian contemporary pizza. 

Piero Gabrieli

Three crazy-good pizzas. From Martucci, in Caserta

Francesco Martucci in the kitchen of his I Masanielli in Caserta

Literally struck in Caserta, on the way back home, in the north. Here we are, dutifully celebrating the extraordinary talent of Francesco Martucci at his I Masanielli. But even more we want to celebrate his overall idea, which is comforting and even exalting: even when you believe there’s a very limited scope for improvement, when you believe that doing more than what you’re doing is almost impossible, you can be proven wrong by facts, and in the most unexpected way. This happens in every aspect of life but here we’re speaking of pizzas: and the pizzas we tasted at Martucci’s are extraordinary. Dough and topping: both of the highest standards.

One should investigate in depth, the deep origin of this brilliant climb, taking into account three factors:

1) he comes from a simple background, and made his way through lots of hard work, with those large hands of is, as Luciana Squadrilli told us here: Who’s Francesco Martucci, the other number one;

2) he pulls out of the oven the highest quantity in mass production: 1,200 guests per day between lunch and dinner, a team of 40 people holding all this crowd of people which...

3) ... leads to a collective maddening. We saw with our eyes, and heard with our ears, at the entrance of I Masanielli, how dozens and dozens of people were waiting outside for a table. Some wait patiently in the queue to understand when and if their turn will come, «I’m sorry – the guy said – there’s a wait of at least one hour and a half, two hours». Unflinchingly, they confirmed the table, pre-enjoying what was to come...

Carlo Passera

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Jurnate di Simenza: hurray for agricultural biodiversity

Tommaso Cannata, Giuseppe Li Rosi and Corrado Assenza at Jurnate di Simenza. All the photos are from Concetta Bonini

«We’re creating a new economy based on cereal bio-difference», Giuseppe Li Rosi says. «We need innovation and quality, not large volumes», Corrado Assenza explains. What may appear as a divergence has instead some common grounds at the Jurnate di Simenza, the symposium that took place last month in the magnificent castle of Montalbano Elicona, a stone village where time appears to have stopped, in the inland of Messina. An only seeming stop (Assenza) and go (Li Rosi), harmonised by a shared vision which is the foundation of Simenza’s adventure, the Cumpagnia Siciliana Sementi Contadineborn on the 20th of February 2016, now with 200 members, mostly among agricultural entrepreneurs – as well as processing entrepreneurs – which president Li Rosiexplains as such: «We’re not a cooperative or a consortium, but a cultural association. At the same time, we realise that we need to offer an economic outlet for our activity, and we’re working in that direction».

This was the theme of the Jurnate in Montalbano: how can we give sound foundations and viability – giving a profitable model of development for territories – to a project that was born based on three elements:
Simenza is a community of Sicilian farmers and breeders, the custodians and promoters of the agricultural biodiversity of the island. The crucial goal, that led to the birth of the association, was the recording of the over 50 ecotypes of indigenous wheat available in Sicily in the national Registry of varieties for the preservation of agricultural species, so as to avoid that genetic resources, which by right belong to farmers, turn into a mere tool of speculation.(...) (Simenza) is born to safeguard the precious heritage of Sicily: its biodiversity. It does so as a Cumpagnìa or Community where every farmer, breeder, miller, baker, and pasta producer safeguards and gives value to local resources.

Now they’re trying to do something more…

Carlo Passera

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Mirko Petracci and the new Gran'Aria dough

Mirko Petracci

One year and a half of research, experiments and studies, to obtain a pizza that is both light and crispy, and very easy to digest. In the end, the efforts led to a great result: it’s called Gran’Aria, even the name is evocative, and it’s the novelty presented by Mirko Petracci, born in 1981, at his La Scaletta in Ascoli Piceno.

It’s not just the very high hydration that is making this new dough unique, creating large bubbles of air and enriching the gluten texture with more air, but making it crunchy too. It’s also the particular process to make the dough that makes Gran’Aria a model worth exporting. There’s not just one pre-fermenting phase, but three, each with a different flour.

The pre-ferment is the primordial version of the dough, where the leavening base is developed, which will add lightness, crispiness and flavour. AtLa Scaletta the initial poolish is made with natural mother yeast, plus three pre-ferments with three different types of flour from Petra - Molino Quaglia in Vighizzolo d’Este (all made with Italian wheat from 100% sustainable farming): the result is a blend that will give a rich and original aroma to the pizza. So Gran’Aria it’s a pizza that’s alive, it breathes, it tells the story of ancient wheat varieties and natural leavening methods. It charms in terms of taste, colour and digestibility.

Now Mirko would like to export this method all around the world, thanks to the stimulating friendships he has found in New York and London. «In every metropolis we can present ourselves with a suitable name», he says. With a project that can put together the partners and entrepreneurs who want to invest in future and people.

Petracci is an ambitious guy. He’s the heir of a 40-year-long family saga. It was 1978 when Vincenzo and Maria Petracci opened La Scaletta in Ascoli Piceno. Over the years the pizzeria became a point of reference in town. The couple ran the place until 2013, when they decided to retire: this is when their firstborn Mirkotook over, after spending all his life in the pizzeria (friends, colleagues and clients say “He was born in the pizzeria”) and perfectly understands its rhythms and mechanisms.

Mirko recalls he first baked his pizza at 13, and he spent his days training by the wood oven, and helping prepare the ingredients. When his parents retired, Mirko decided to revolutionise the pizzeria and its offer. The challenge was to go beyond the original work, but without losing the place’s identity. Petracci has an ambition: he wants to show all the world how to make pizza of the highest standards, with a new method. Which now has a special name.

La Scaletta, Via Napoli 137, Ascoli Piceno. Tel +39 0736 45626

Great bread making at Colombo’s in Varese

The name of the establishment – Colombo 1933 – leaves no doubt: it’s been almost 90 years since Giovanni Colombo opened his bread making laboratory in Busto Arsizio, a populated town in the province of Varese, and once famous for its fabric industry. But he was already a professional of bread making, at work in a bakery in a nearby village.

Today his grandsons Giovanni and Matteo continue the family tradition which since the Nineties, thanks to their father, grew with the building of a large workshop and the opening of a second shop; and so on, until they reached the current 12 shops: 6 in Busto Arsizio, 2 in Gallarate and then one each in Olgiate Olona, Marnate, Castellanza and Dairago (for info: The establishment has also joined the prestigious Petra Selected Partners group.

Bread is of course the many protagonist. Every day they bake many different types: from the sliced bread – made with rye, buckwheat or multi-fibre with walnuts and raisins – to the loaves and ciabattas, also available already filled for lunchbreaks and snacks. And there’s the panettone gastronomico, in the classic version or the regional ones, with specialties from the different regions of Italy, such as the Sicilian one with a tartare of red prawns from Mazara, cream of saffron, wild fennel and pine nuts, or the Lombard one with salame di Varzi PDO and crescenza with green peppers.

There are also cakes – from tarts to Christmas and Easter typical cakes – and croissants, pastries and breakfast sweets, as well as focaccia with figs or with grapes. And, of course, pizza: the one “spicchiata” [sliced], round and thick and soft, richly topped – from the classic Margherita to the one with smoked salmon – and sold in halves or in slices. And then there are delicious stuffed, baked panzerotti. 

All these products are based on high quality ingredients, starting from the flour – mixed and prepared specifically for each type of bread – as well as the seasonal organic fruits and vegetables.

Luciana Squadrilli

Antolini and Mangieri: pizza passion

Pizza al padellino from Petra Antolini

The second lesson of day two at Eataly Flatiron starts with Petra Antolini, an artisan of pizza and patron at Settimo Cielo in Pescantina (Verona), a large restaurant with 25 employees. «Why did you choose this career?» Vince Gerasole, the moderator of Identità New York asks right away, «Because I’m following my passion», she says, «because I can use my hands. And because I can use the earth’s incredible products, like wheat».

«Today, for instance, I use an ancient Sicilian wheat with extraordinary aromas. I get it from the guys at Simenza. Just like yeast and extra virgin olive oil, flour is crucial for the dough: from that wheat, they make Molino Quaglia’s Petra evolutiva, which is essential for my work because it allows me to understand the processes that come first, from the selection of the wheat, to the milling».

At Eataly’s ScuolaPetra brought two types of dough with different structures. The first is a Pizza cooked in the pan, made with poolish and fermenting for 24 hours. On top, she puts a mousse of Grana Padano Riserva and some delicious Culatello from Valpolicella, marinated with Amarone and Recioto, «two strong expressions of my region».

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Ivano Veccia, Ischia’s pizza at Qvinto’s in Rome

Ivano Veccia

Once famous for having hosted one of the Rome’s most populated Roma camps – which, putting aside the polemics and the discussions on inclusion and integration policies was in undeniable conditions of urban blight – the Park of Tor di Quinto is now a good example of redevelopment and urban livability in north Rome: 9 hectares of outdoors along the river Tiber, with a lake created by making use of a natural reservoir, a large parking lot, areas for jogging and sports, playgrounds and environmentally friendly catering spaces; and when necessary it is also the perfect place to host open air events, surrounded by the natural habitat, rich in flora and fauna.

In this context, last spring Qvinto opened (Via Fornaci di Tor di Quinto 10, Rome. Tel. +39 06 3332961,, a large multifunctional place – cocktail bar, lounge, restaurant, pizzeria, café – all under the sloping roof of a clearly contemporary-looking building but in harmony with the surrounding environment. A restaurant was already located here but the new management led by Simone Pellegrino – general manager of the project and HR director at Green Network, a supplier of electricity that won a 30-year-long contract to run the park, the school inside the park and the catering offer – has brought many news, starting from the name.

The setting has become sophisticated, thanks to the contemporary style that puts together essential lines, natural materials and touches of green and “urban” design. This while the kitchen focuses on high quality grilled meat, local raw materials and rather traditional but well executed recipes. The pizza is no news instead, signed by Ivano Veccia. The pizzaiolo from Ischia, the author of some excellent pizzas in the “Contemporary Neapolitan” style, had already offered his consultancy to the previous management. He was then confirmed as the “patron” of the oven at Qvinto, marking the very successful pizza offer.

An eclectic professional, on top of being passionate about dough and toppings,Veccia also loves fine dining (he often dines in fine restaurants and exchanges ideas with his chef and pastry chef friends, such as Nino Di Costanzo and Antonio Maresca) and music - from time to time he still works as a deejay. His pizza “ischitana”, remarkably smooth and with a thick and airy edge, is the result of at least 20 hours of leavening and of a blend of flour low in proteins and very aromatic which he has created himself, choosing the wheat varieties and the milling procedures.

The toppings are made with high quality ingredients, often from Campania, and on top of the classic pizzas there’s space for experiments and creativity, following the seasons too. Hence Anna Savio (dedicated to his mother and designed with Nino Di Costanzo) is seasoned with provola and fiordilatte and then, after the baking, curly endive seasoned with oil aromatised with anchovies from Cetara, semi-dry cherry tomatoes, olives from Caiazzo, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil; the autumn novelty is Porcini&Pancetta, with the precious mushrooms presented as a cream, grilled and as a carpaccio, with pancetta chjàata made with pigs from Caserta, piperna (a typical aromatic herb from Ischia, similar to thyme, used for the famous rabbit recipe), pepper, semidry tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. And there’s place for a homage to Rome too, as in the case of the pizza withbaccalà alla Trasteverina, inspired by the ancient recipe with salted cod, raisins, pine nuts, capers, lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil, in this case paired with scarola and fiordilatte.


Stefano Chinappi, back to pizza

Chinappi’s pizza with tomato, garlic, oil and chilli pepper 

In Rome, Chinappi is a synonym of seafood cuisine and high quality fish – which also refers to attention to seasonality and ethics when it comes to raw materials. In this he is almost unmatched. Among those who know him better, Stefano Chinappi is also known for his energic, lively and warm hospitality (10 years ago he opened in Via Valenziani 19, off Porta Pia, with his wife Elena. Tel. +39 06 4819005, and for his passion for champagne.

But perhaps not everyone knows that his family’s cooking history started with pizza back in 1956 in Formia, a town on the coast of Lazio from which most of the seafood supplies for his restaurant arrive. His grandfather Antonio, a baker, opened a small restaurant with his wife Vincenza where they served simple dishes in the shade of the orange trees. His son Franco, father of Stefano and Michele (who now runs the restaurant in Formia), stood out as a great pizzaiolo, and together with his wife Anna, transformed the place into a point of reference on the coast; to this day, pizza is served along seafood specialties at the restaurant in Formia.

Now, Stefano Chinappi has decided to offer it in his elegant restaurant in Rome, next to family classics such as Polpo verace orSpaghetto con le telline sgusciate, and to his fabulous raw seafood. Not that Chinappi is going to turn into pizzeria: «I liked the idea of bringing some of our history to Rome, with my family recipes. We want to serve it in the middle of the table, to be shared between one dish and the next, and I also include it in the tasting menus», says Stefano; but you must request it when booking the table, so they have time to mature the homemade dough.

On top of the classic Margherita with buffalo milk mozzarella, the menu includes the very first pizza created by Franco – the historic one with tomato, garlic, oil and pecorino - and the one with mozzarella, olives from Itri and rosemary, really perfect, with a base that’s not too thin and crispy, but doesn’t melt either, made colourful and aromatic thanks to the dough made with multi-cereal flour, and baked with a state-of-the-art oven with rotating gas. «The slice must stay straight when you pick it with your hands, but the edge must bend», Chinappi explains, showing how this works in practice, inviting to follow the good manners of eating pizza [with your hands] despite the elegant mise en place in his restaurant. In other words, it’s a pizza half-way between Naples and Rome, just like Formia.


Pizza Romana Day, the success of the Roman Pride

Pizza Romana Day: last year, the first edition of the diffused event dedicated to “Roman pride” – celebrating and promoting the round, thin and crispy pizza typical of the capital – had the merit of drawing the industry and the audience’s attention to this special type, not very popular outside the city. This year, the event organised by Agrodolce has grown, in numbers and ambitions. As many as 70 pizzerias participated, including places dedicated to pizza alla tegliaor alla pala, the real emblems of Roman street food that are experiencing a big success all across Italy; and indeed the Pizza Romana Day® 2019, celebrated on the 12th of September crossed the regional borders with restaurants in Milan, Bologna, Faenza and Pomigliano D'Arco.

Here are a few numbers: over 15K people reached for these pizzerias serving pizza alla palaor alla teglia, whichstarted to celebrate already in the morning, while 2,500 people in the evening crowded the 20 pizzerias offering round pizzas. Among them, both those who have the pizza “romana scrocchiarella” as their forte – such as 180g Pizzeria Romana or Frontoni dal 1940 – and those who accepted the challenge and decided to change for a night, such as La Gatta Mangiona or Seu Pizza Illuminati. The event had a significant outcome on social media, reaching over 150K users on Instagram and over 43,700 views for the relevant stories, made thanks to a team of “ambassadors”.

Presented in the morning at L’Osteria di Birra del Borgo with tastings of the three types of pizza prepared by Luca Pezzetta and served with Lisa beer fromBirra del Borgo, the Pizza Romana Day® was organised in collaboration with Regione Lazio and Arsial which – starting from the office led by Enrica Onorati – strongly believe in pizza as a “testimonial” of the regional food offer: among the news of this edition there was also the “Pizza 100% Lazio”, a pizza made only with ingredients from Lazio, such as prosciutto from Amatrice GPI, porchetta from Ariccia GPI or buffalo milk mozzarella from the Agro Pontino, as well as extra virgin olive oil from Tuscia PDO or fiaschetto tomatoes from Fondi – which every pizzaiolo presented that day.

After the successful event, people continue to enjoy and celebrate Roman pizza each day, thinking of the future. Lorenza Fumelli, director at Agrodolce and creator of the event says: «People in Italy and abroad are changing the way they perceive Roman pizza. This perception is changing fast, mostly thanks to the work of good pizzaioli who for a few years now have been investing in quality and research. But this event also made its small part. This year we celebrated 3 types of pizza: tonda, teglia and pala; next year we’ll call great chefs from the entire region to experiment in the pizzerias and we’ll break any residues of perplexity on the potential of Roman pizza».