Newsletter 63 del 18 gennaio 2020

Dear {{NOME}},

Piero Gabrieli in the following news and, in general, during the latest edition of PizzaUp in November in Vighizzolo d’Este, raises an important issue in contemporary communication: how should you choose the photos to illustrate a piece of news? This when the news is often the image itself.

In the old days, what counted was words, content, and as critics, we would draw dishes in our notebooks and I find it hard to remember, in the Eighties and Nineties, someone who would sit at a table with a Nikon. Framing moments of a lunch or a dinner was terribly difficult. Because of the space and the light, which was almost never enough, and because films at the time were hardly as sensitive as current digital cameras and smartphones, incredible tools that have freed us from the “dictatorship” of analogic cameras.

Regardless of the tool, the problem is always the same: how to take and publish an effective photo. Whether with the picture taken now and then (film was expensive, and so was developing and printing the photos) of the old days, or the endless, free clicks of these days, it’s always the same: a good photo must have a soul, it must stand out. And if it’s just nice, I get hives.

Paolo Marchi


How do you choose the photos for your social networks?

The relationship between pizzaioli and consumers grows in parallel with the relationship between pizzeria and social networks (especially Instagram and Facebook): this clearly emerged during the latest PizzaUp, and multiple speakers stressed how communicating actively in the virtual world brings benefits in the real one. Meanwhile, a communication that’s more focused on images than words is becoming more important; images you scroll fast and which, to bring effective messages, must capture the attention of the consumer, conveying an emotion. I left the three-day congress with the belief that the meeting point between real and virtual in a pizzeria is the capacity of creating empathy, in the dining room as well as online.

But how should you choose the images to share on your social networks? 

Look HERE to find out what Eleonora Massaretti and Giacomo Devoto think, and then CHOOSE with a click with whom you agree.

Piero Gabrieli

PizzaUp, the winning word is empathy

Photo Thorsten Stobbe

We can open a hundred dictionaries, but in the end the meaning of empathy doesn’t change, as recalled by Treccani: it’s «The ability of putting yourself in someone else’s place or, more precisely, of understanding immediately someone else’s psychic processes». And it was to empathy that Molino Quaglia dedicated the 14th edition of PizzaUp at the school in Vighizzolo d’Este, Padua.

A difficult topic, because for the participants, all pizzaioli, it required going far beyond their usual reality. Journalist Cristina Viggè finely summed this up by quoting the famous pipe/non pipe painted by René Magritte. Just like that was not an authentic, chargeable and smokable pipe, since it was a drawing, so it came natural to state that Ceci n’est pas une pizza. Except that in the case of the event promoted by the Quaglias, the pizzas are real, like the ones that the participants imagine and prepare, cook and serve basically every day.

Launching the three-day-event in Vighizzolo was Massimo Donà, who came as philosopher, not jazz musician – he plays the trumpet. He launched the first lesson of the first day with words that made everyone understand that  they were set to leave on a journey high above the usual, on new routes, very different from the past: «All of you should write in your restaurant that that place is not a pizzeria and what people are eating is not a pizza, it is not justa pizza. People will look at you surprised, but it is that “not” that encloses the mystery of life»…

Paolo Marchi

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Massimo Donà: this is not a pizza

Massimo Donà, professor at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, during his speech at PizzaUp 2019. Photo Thorsten Stobbe

«Let’s make it clear. Eating a pizza is not an innocent gesture», Massimo Donà, the histrionic theorist and deus ex machina of the Master’s Degree in Philosophy of Food and Wine at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, said at PizzaUp. It’s not an innocent gesture in that it implies that you’re somewhat prepared. Starting from the perfect knowledge of the word empathy. Which comes from the ancient Greek word empatéia, formed by en, “inside”, and pathos, “suffering or feeling”. «Empathy means sharing. It means contact, connection, becoming one. But there are three ways to become empathic. The first is to give up on part of yourself in order to pay attention to the other’s needs. In the end, you risk being no longer yourself. You risk giving up your own diversity», Donà explains. He also analyses the second meaning of empathy. «You can be empathic by finding a shared ground. Leaving a margin to respect each one’s diversities. But this means you risk being schizophrenic. Neither yourself nor the other, but a third being. Losing identity. The risk, in this middle ground, is that of confusion». 

But there’s a third way of being empathic too. «Plato and Aristoteles already knew it. It’s the crying of the actor on stage, in the theatre, who makes us crying in the audience. We suffer, laugh and share the emotions of the person on stage, because we know that those things could happen to us too. It’s what happens in cinemas as well. We’re fully aware it’s pure fiction. But a mechanism of identification kicks off», Donà continues. Which is the perfect and contemporary definition of the word empathy. Filled with infinite richness. «Empathy is when I finally understand that what is different from me, is not only different. It is what makes usbecome even more ourselves. So when we eat, we bring in ourselves the outside world, which becomes an intimate part of ourselves. Why so? Because it’s an extraneousness and an externality that we feel we have to take in ourselves. So that we can become more ourselves. More authentic». 

It’s empathy in the sense of enriching one’s identity. It’s empathy as the highest celebration of differences. After all, the true unity is the one that has the single elements best express themselves. Just like with pizza. «Even though this is not a pizza», Donà points out, paraphrasing René Magritte’s Ceci n’est pas une pipe

«You must suggest to your guest that what they’re eating is not a pizza. Or at least is not only a pizza. The mystery lies in that “not”. It’s Socrates’s knowing I don’t know. It’s knowing that things are never the way we think. It’s knowing that that pizza cannot exhaust itself. Because that pizza is infinitely more than a pizza». Standing ovation.

Cristina Viggè

Almanacco della Pizza, that is to say the people who took the challenge

The launch of the Almanacco at Pizza Up 2019, with its key figures

Halfway between a book and a collection of stories, through words and images, but without a single photo of a pizza; instead, the faces and hands of the pizzaioli – 13, interviewed, photographed and filmed – who have contributed in writing those stories. This is, in brief, the first volume of the Almanacco della Pizza, first launched at Pizza Up 2019, a collection of the “original souls who are writing the history of pizza”.

As Chiara Quaglia and Piero Gabrieli point out in the presentation, «We are attracted and we attract critics, passionate and farsighted people, who challenge those who stand looking without exposing themselves, and live the change to give the past a contemporary value. In this Almanacco there are 13 pizzaioli of this kind, starting from the person who caused the first sparkle». That is to say Simone Padoan, greeted by an applause that seemed endless. And after the Venetian, Gennaro BattiloroRenato BoscoMarco Farabegoli, Daniele DonatelliMassimo GiovanniniMassimiliano PreteLello RavagnanGiuseppe RizzoGiovanni SantarpiaCorrado ScaglioneFriedrich Schmuck and Massimo TravagliniCristina Viggè was the author of their stories, with a postface from Corrado Assenza and photos from Thorsten Stobbe.

Who was in the last 25 years the first pizzaiolo to bravely apply an innovative idea in the making of pizza dough? And who was the first to use fresh and seasonal ingredients? Who highlighted and enhanced the connection with farmers and agriculture? Who redefined the balance between water, flour and yeast so that the dough would be lighter? Who visualised and materialised a future for pizza in fine dining? There are people who match ideas and passion for their work, to accomplish their innovative vision. Not so that they can surprise, or to be leaders, but to contribute in conveying over time the values they have experienced in the past. These people are witnesses of what was good in the past and spontaneously dedicate their life so that those good things may have a future, creating original and contemporary consumption experiences. And by doing so, they become role models. The Almanacco della Pizza tells their story. 

Assenza at PizzaUp, the balance between what’s on top and what’s below

Corrado Assenza at PizzaUp 2019. Photo Thorsten Stobbe

If true empathy is the highest celebration of differences, here is its consecration on pizza. Thanks to a series of creations created – again at PizzaUp - by the polyphonic Corrado Assenza. Who is capable of giving a voice to single elements. «For some ten years now we’ve been experiencing connections between dough and topping. Even though we should find a better word for the seasoning. What’s important is that what we put on top is coherent with what’s below. And that everything follows the same idea», Corrado points out. Ready to celebrate four types of dough that are the result of spontaneous and wild fermentations.

Voilà, a wild base with organic monococcum spelt. Which immediately leads to Tuscany, to its countryside and hills. Hence: fiordilatte, beans, bay leaves, rosemary, stewed black cabbage, reduced tomato juice and lardo di Colonnata cut very thin. Like ribollita, but with a twist.

But there’s also a dough for rye addicts. Aromatic, dark, autumnal. Which hints at long and loving homely preparations. Beef cheek and muscle stew, diced and creamed potatoes (cooked with garlic and parsley), steamed celery and carrots, pomegranate and cooked quince apples (with some brown sugar). «The potatoes are intentionally cut into rough dices. It’s a hint to motherly imperfection», says Assenza. Who creates a liaison between the memory of Sunday stews and more contemporary flavours.

And then, a pizza made with Ottimais. Which instinctively summons Veneto and baccalà. «But I used cod instead, so as to have a more authentic ingredient», Corrado points out. To this, he adds a cream of white and red onions, and a cream of cheese: taleggio, fontina, montasio and goat cheese.

Last but not least, the precious pizza with Cerealè, a mélange of oats, rye and whole wheat. Perfect if matched with a cream of toasted Piedmontese hazelnuts, blended and slightly toasted, with beetroot, artichokes, chiodini and champignon mushrooms, goat robiola and mountain cheese. Just to add a fatty note. In empathy with the vegetal one.


Luca Pezzetta is the "Best pizzaiolo" of 2020

Luca Pezzetta, between Piero Gabrieli and Paolo Marchi, receives the award

Luca Pezzetta, of L'Osteria di Birra del Borgo in Rome, won the title of "Best chef pizzaiolo" under 40 for the Guida Identità Golose 2020, an acknowledgement promoted by Petra Molino Quaglia. He received the award from the very hands of Piero Gabrieli, marketing director of the mill in Vighizzolo d'Este.

This is the reason: "Born in the Castelli Romani in 1989, the son of restaurateurs, Pezzetta after a long training in bread making and cooking ends spying the art of leavened products next to Gabriele Bonci. For a few seasons now he’s been playing solo and not only does he work as a fully accomplished pizzaiolo, giving the same importance to technique, flour and research for the best raw materials; he also writes new rules with regards to dough, always inventing something surprising and delicious".

The goal: reaching 100 pizzerias in the IG Guide

The number of pizzerias reviewed in the new edition of the Guida Identità Golose reaches 99 (after last year’s 85). The guide was presented late last year at the Excelsior Gallia hotel in Milan. This increase proves the healthy state of the industry and the constant growth in quality that one can notice in its top restaurants – as known, Identità’s guide only includes the very best places.

Looking at the list, one can notice an ever improving geographic distribution in Italy: 2 places in Abruzzo, 16 in Campania, 5 in Emilia Romagna, 10 in Lazio, 24 in Lombardy, 1 in the Marche, 3 in Piedmont, 7 in Apulia, 4 in Sardinia, 2 in Sicily, 7 in Tuscany, 2 in Trentino Alto Adige and 9 in Veneto. To these one must also add Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Australia, United States, each with one restaurant, and two in Thailand too.

The new entries: La Sorgente and Tropicaldue in Abruzzo; La ContradaI MasanielliIl Segreto di Pulcinella and Pizzeria 4A in Campania; Storie DiPinte in Emilia Romagna; La Grotta AzzurraGiolina and Saporè Milano by Renato Bosco in Lombardy; La Scaletta in the Marche; Luppolo & FarinaLa Cruna del Lago and I Gastronauti in Apulia; Al RefettorioSa Scolla in Cagliari and ReMi in Sardinia; Archestrato di Gela in Sicily; Duje and Il Pachino in Tuscany; Hofstätter Garten in Trentino Alto Adige; Berberè in Veneto; La Scala del Sukhothai and Pizza Massilia in Thailand.

Sirabella: my commitment to ethics and sustainability

Lorenzo Sirabella

Pizza and sustainability: the future is as green as ever. Lorenzo Sirabella, of Dry Milano, the winner of the "Giovane Pizzaiolo dell'Anno 2019" award from 50 Top Pizza is convinced of this. Sirabella has developed these themes during his speech at LSDM – during a seminar called "Il futuro della pizza", the future of pizza – a discussion on the relationship between the work of a pizzaiolo and ethics and sustainability. Sirabella’s points of reference are seasonality and respect for the normal process of nature; a menu with few dishes to avoid waste, but including "Try by Dry", an item that changes weekly, so as to offer clients always something new; certified products as a guarantee for the guests; recovery of the waste; developing a relationship with suppliers so as to avoid a waste of plastic and polystyrene, internal organisation of the stocks.

This resulted in a series of rules – eight points – for the future of pizza:
- Dough with an identity 
- Menu: memory and territory
- Don’t’ abandon tradition, but innovate with awareness and care 
- Educate the guest to high quality products 
- Training on toppings and cooking techniques 
- Respect for raw materials 
- A strong collaboration with the dining room (briefing and continuous training)
- Creating an experience for the guests

«Who would have ever imagined a pizzaiolo speaking of ethics, sustainability and aesthetics – Sirabella then said. – Until 10-15 years ago, a professional like me was considered a person who didn’t think, someone who didn’t want to study and could only roughly make pizzas. This is why we should never stop thanking Enzo Coccia and his generation, who gave a strong impact on change. I try to convey my thoughts by touching some points that I believe essential, such as product identity, respecting raw materials, no waste, staff training, few items in the menu, with weekly options, a strong relationship with producers».

There’s more: «The relationship with the dining room is also important: we must pull down the wall and act as a team. If the guest goes home happy, it’s not only thanks to our dishes, it’s the dining room staff that makes people enjoy the experience of the dishes, by illustrating the ideas behind them, and conveying to the guest our emotions, our passion. This can be done well only through collaboration, study and the love that unites us in this job».

Alex Coppari and his pizzas in ferment

Alessandro Coppari’Um-Amami pizza

Alessandro Coppari, since 2004 at the helm of “cut-to-measure” pizzeria Mezzometro in Senigallia – while his brother Alessio is in charge of the Jesi branch – is a picture of contemporary pizza and of a pizzaiolo who doesn’t just knead pizza, but also carefully and thoroughly studies every ingredient, both in the dough and in the garnish. There’s more: he is an expert of the local area and as such he makes use of its excellent products, understanding their use, the pairings, their potential.

For some time now Coppari has studied fermentation in his lab, and this has resulted in precious ingredients for his pizzas and beyond. Some of his new pizzas, which can be ordered "by the metre" or in the classic format, are a result of this. As in the case of the brave Um-Amami with mozzarella fiordilatte, katsuobushi, ginger, lemon thyme and fermented onion. A real concentrate of “umami” which lands on a pizza made by the metre. After some seven months of work on fermentation, Alessandro has decided to present also a new version of his Uaau!, a soft steamed roll made with milk, which in the autumn replaces porchetta with a sausage cooked at low temperature, turnip tops, fermented onions and a fondue of Blu cheese from Lessinia.

The menu now also includes Suasantità, a declaration of love for the local region and has, among its ingredients, the sweet onion from Suasa, pecorino from Montefeltro, on top of mozzarella fiordilatte del Casolare and San Marzano tomato PDO, followed by Panchamama – a "rimpizza", that is to say a pizza filled with pork belly cooked at a low temperature and glazed with honey, with fermented cabbage, mustard and rocket – made of rich, round flavours, like a winter cuddle.

«I like fermented products because they nourish my love for research, for the study of raw materials and of the ways in which they change over time. I’m working on classic fermentations, for instance with onion or cabbage, and international ones too, like kimchi which I’d like to use on my hot pizzas – Coppari explains. – I believe that for a pizzaiolo it is essential to present excellence both in traditional pizzas, which must be impeccable, and in the specialties that best represent him, so as to express his creativity. For me it is important to use local raw materials, Slow Food presidia from the Marche, as well as ingredients that have little to do with my culture, which I enjoy adapting. I believe that those who, like me, run a restaurant far away from large cities, have two duties towards their clients: the first is to guarantee a high quality offer, and the second is audacity, so as to offer guests something different, that will open horizons and present, through the dish, the infinite versality of a product like pizza, which is both made in Italy and universal».