Newsletter 48 del 04 gennaio 2018

Dear {{NOME}},

In the ocean of comments that followed the death of Gualtiero Marchesi, who was buried last week in San Zenone al Po, I was struck by the words of Enzo Coccia: «I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago. He said: 'Don’t be one who handles dough, but a pizzaiolo with thoughts’. I won’t hide it took me a very long time to understand what he meant».

These words perfectly represent Gualtiero. His expectations went far beyond the daily efforts of normal people. The latter must always be at their best to be good enough or excellent, and always as the result of training, concentration, constant commitment. It’s different with stars: they have a gift, and use it. Marchesi went beyond, he didn’t focus on details but looked at the big picture.

So I find it’s beautiful he invited Coccia not to think of dough, which is the same for every pizzaiolo. It reminds of Marchesi and pasta, when he tried to escape the typically Italian concepts of overflowing dishes, in the style of Alberto Sordi.

In kitchens, in front of ovens, at pastry stations, with suppliers and artisans, we need intelligent people who can raise the standard of quality. We need pizzaioli who can present pizza Margherita that can be both recognised as such, and be different, new, compared to the millions and millions that came before it. Pizzaioli with thoughts, that is.

Paolo Marchi



Time to mature

Late December is a time for evaluating how a year went, or for looking at the future with enthusiasm. I prefer the latter choice, and 2018 will be a year of significant changes at our mill.

In the previous issue of Identità di Pizza, I mentioned how climate affects the choice of wheat; in the issue before that, I wrote about the original wheat project. Origin and climate are strongly connected. They influence each other, and together they affect the wheat’s organoleptic features, the flour’s flavour and workability, the nutrients of the baked product, the satisfaction of the consumer. Our road in search for new quality standards for our flour, which Petra launched over a decade ago, has reached a crossroads. On the one hand we have constant technological improvement, which increases the cleanliness and quality of the flour; on the other, a perfectly transparent supply chain, in which millers must take care of transformation, and farmers (with the influence of territory, climate and cultivation techniques) must once again select the wheat through their choice of seeds.

The point of view has radically changed, affecting the entire supply chain, from seeds’ keepers to consumers, via famers and millers. You can see the first signs of this work at Sigep in Rimini (our space will be in Hall B5D5 from the 20th to the 24th January 2018) and you can taste the first baked products at Identità Milano (from the 3rd to the 5th March 2018). 2018 will be the pilot year for Petra’s Cereali Originari. We will take all the time it takes so that a new perspective on flour can develop.

Piero Gabrieli

Identità di Pane e Pizza: the programme

Identità Milano, to be held as usual at MiCo in Via Gattamelata, from the 3rd to the 5th March will once again have pizza among its protagonists (as well as bread): for the 12th time out of 14 editions of our international fine dining congress, the programme includes a session dedicated to Identità di Pane e Pizza, in collaboration with Petra – Molino Quaglia, who are also the supporters, together with Valrhona, of another very important moment, the first edition of Pasticceria Italiana Contemporanea. In both cases, speeches will take place on Monday 5th, throughout the day.

Identità di Pane e Pizza is perhaps even more awaited than usual, this year, given pizza is the emblem-dish of the 2018 congress (see: Pizza as the emblem dish of Identità 2018, by Paolo Marchi). It’s unprecedented: in the past we had recipes by Carlo CraccoAlfonso CaputoMoreno CedroniMassimo BotturaDavide ScabinPaolo LoprioreMassimiliano AlajmoPino Cuttaia, again Bottura in 2015, Cristina Bowerman and, last March, Enrico Crippa. Now we have pizza, in fact two pizzas, "to unite the whole of Italy in the same image”. In the photo opening the piece seven slices stand out. The three on the left are by Franco Pepe, the four to the right by Renato Bosco. Campania, where pizza was born, and Veneto, the region where, over the last decade, it experienced a rebirth thanks to Simone Padoan and Bosco himself. Utmost conviviality, innovation of an ancient product, man and his knowledge preceding every possible dough making and baking technique", said Marchi.

Of course, the above-mentioned pizzaioli had to participate in Identità di Pane e Pizza. After all, their presence is well known to those who have been attending our congress: Simone Padoan will open the afternoon works, after the lunch break (at 1:20 pm); Renato Bosco and Franco Pepe will end the day beautifully, their speeches being scheduled respectively at 5:30 and 6:20 pm. In between, three more lessons by giants: Lello Ravagnan of Grigoris in Mestre is back at 2:10 pm, Giuseppe Oliva from Baest in Copenhagen at 3 pm, Luigi Acciaio and Jessica Tomaini from Com'era, è in Moncalieri at 3:50 pm.

A nice pizza focused mix with old masters and debuting speakers; in the morning, instead, three new appearances at our congress will share their thoughts on bread: Papoula Ribeiro from Manì in Sao Paulo in Brazil and brothers Matteo and Ivan Piffer from Trento, of whom Tania Mauri will tell you more below.

Carlo Passera

New speakers at Identità 2018: Ivan and Matteo Piffer

Ivan and Matteo Piffer

Bread is “poor”, and popular. It is beloved by the young and the old. It has no barriers nor class. Just like pizza, it has experienced moments of crisis, of “exploit”, of identity loss; but it was recently rediscovered by people wishing to re-establish old recipes.

This is what happened to brothers Matteo and Ivan Piffer, sons of Anna and Paolo. Their family has always had to do with flour and bakers. They own Panificio Moderno in Rovereto and a workshop in Isera. They both put their studies aside and continued the precious family business. Today Ivan, the shier and more introvert of the two, runs the workshop and takes care of training and production, which he increased with bread and cakes; Matteo takes care of management and new openings (they now have six shops, one of which in the historic centre of Isera, four in Rovereto and one in Trento, opened in May 2017).

In the new shop in Trento, on top of bread – made with different types of flour and in large loaves, like in the old days – the Piffers are experimenting a new concept of bakery, with café and kitchen, where they also make focaccia romana; the response is excellent.

Matteo and Ivan in away have gone back to the work of their grandparents, following their approach and choices: back to farmland and farmers, because they believe "food is a product of agriculture”. In coherence with the theme of Identità Milano 2018, that is to say the Human Factor, the Piffer brothers believe human relations help you reach great results. Sharing ideas and principles is what it takes to grow. Because man comes before products. Mercato al Ponte, a festival they organise in Isera, the third edition of which took place in September, is a proof of this: it creates a contact between clients and suppliers, offering the chance to share knowledge and ideas in a small house built next to their workshop. 

They are strong supporters of the importance of using wheat of different varieties. They even launched the Settimana del pane, which changes each year, based on harvest time, dedicated to «bread born from sharing ideas with farmers and millers, bread we experiment on, with which we try to achieve new aromas and flavours, a tasty, nutrient and long-life bread», they say. Then there’s the work with Arte Sella, the result of which is a new natural leavened bread. For info and locations:

Tania Mauri

Pappalardo: how to create a successful pizzeria

Gennaro Nasti and Antonio Pappalardo

La Cascina dei Sapori in Rezzato has reached its tenth anniversary. It was celebrated with three special dinner events with Mauro Zacchetti, Simone Padoan and finally, from Paris, Gennaro Nasti, patron at Popine and Bijou – the photo refers to the latter event, a few weeks ago. But what made patron-chef Antonio Pappalardo approach gourmet pizza some ten years ago (when he was not yet 19!)? Why did he leave the calm path of Campanian classics, given he was born in Castellammare di Stabia, though always based in Brescia?

Clearly, he’s the kind of person who has both the natural humbleness of the hard worker and the well-deserved pride of someone who knows he has brilliant ideas: «Let’s start by saying that when I first opened La Cascina my approach was different. I was aiming for a classic pizzeria-cum-restaurant like many others, with good but not excellent pizza, (farmed) fish, and so on». But it was an unoriginal, old format: «It was a stale model. Plus we were small and new. We had to compete with giants who were already using this format to make big numbers. Lower prices were the only way to be in that market: but how were we to keep some decent raw materials? I had no real opportunities. So, instead of trying to survive, after three years I decided to take my risks».

The risk was to focus on quality – it may seem absurd now, but indeed at the time it was a risk and Pappalardo was in fact one of the pioneers. Plus there was one more problem: he had no experience. «I started to study: I attended the Università della Pizza, which was essential. I worked hard on dough, topping, leavening. I was very curious. I often dined in great restaurants, so I could learn. I learnt the basics of pastry-making, then I worked at Alle Rose, on Lake Garda, which at the time was a prominent restaurant, so as to improve my cooking techniques. I met producers in person to understand their products». So out of whit, perspicacity and merit he started using fine dining concepts at La Cascina dei Sapori, the necessary step to create a contemporary pizzeria.

He still does so: «We take care of every detail, trying to improve service and hospitality». All this while the average meal is 25 euros… «Ten, actually seven years ago I wondered if clients would understand. Today I know they do, of course». The restaurant is always full.


Massimiliano Prete in Torino, opening with a blast

Pizza on the peel by Massimiliano Prete at the new Gusto Madre in Torino

As soon as he opened, on the 19th December, his pizzeria became a mecca for lovers of good pizza. I’m speaking of Gusto Madre, the new restaurant by master pizzaiolo Massimiliano Prete, who’s a little tired after this debut that was sold out since the first day.

This success, however, was to be expected. The Prete/Ciriaci team (the historic business partner of the pizzaiolo, joined in Torino by dining room manager Massimo Palumbo) has been working successfully for a few years now, thanks to two fine-tuned locations in Saluzzo, with Gusto Divino, and the other Gusto Madre in Alba.

Even in Torino the pizzeria is right in the centre: large windows overlook the restaurant with a cosy and well-designed setting, warm colours, bricked walls and long tables that can seat some 60 people. Pizzas are Prete’s “usual”: fine dining recipes, unusual pairings with excellent raw materials, different types of dough - all tasty and easy to digest.

There’s Classica with “living” mother yeast, long fermentations and Petra flour made with 100% Italian stone-milled wheat: it is rich in fibres, so as to guarantee taste and wellbeing. There’s Pizz'otto, a soft thick “cloud of wheat” pizza, whose dough enhances its flavour. It is served in 8 slices and is slightly friable on the outside and soft inside, a contrast that enhances the excellent ingredients. Pala is Enrico Crippa’s favourite. He defined it as «a wisp of air» thanks to its lightness (soft and crispy dough in a pizza to be shared, some 50 cm long). Fa Croc®, Gabriele Bonci’s favourite, melts in your palate. It’s a new take on the classic Roman stuffed focaccia, made with a high dose of stone-milled flour and wheat germ, adding the aroma of toasted wheat. Croccante, with high-hydration, mixed leavening and a long fermentation, allows to get a crispy and friable structure. Finally, there’s Gusto Autentico: the hydrolysis starts the spontaneous fermentation without adding yeast so that the result stands out thanks to its intense, almost ancient and strong flavour.

There’s a special only available over the holidays: Pandolce made with a slice of panettone by Fabio Ciriaci. It is savoury and fried, served with some burrata from Gioia del Colle and lots of fennel salad with lemon balm surrounded by Pata Negra 100% Bellota. A nibble, so to speak.


Gusto Madre
Via Mazzini 31, Torino
tel. +39 393 5490883
Open daily, both for lunch and supper

Kuoki (but also great pizzaioli) in Lonato

Pizza Nuvolari with whole wheat pumpkin cream, gorgonzola tastasal and pumpkin seeds

The owners of Kuoki, a multifunctional restaurant in Lonato, have a fine dining background. They’re the Favalli brothers from Aquariva in Padenghe sul Garda (Brescia). Paolo is in the kitchen, Ivan in the dining room. With Kuoki they launched a place, opened only 14 months ago, where you can eat from early in the morning to late at night.

Starting with breakfast, with over 10 types of pastries, made with the best flour, homemade jam and cream, then nibbles for an aperitif and so on, including tasty afternoon snacks, both sweet and savoury. Pizza takes over in the evening. It’s made with long leavened dough, so it’s soft and easy to digest. Every morning Mauro takes care of making the new dough only using mother yeast and stone-milled flour. For the Crunch type he makes dough with highly hydrated Petra 0 and 24 hours of leavening, for Integrale he uses Petra 9, and Petra 3 for Classica.

He bakes every pizza in the morning, adds topping in the evening, and then puts it back in the oven before serving it. They serve them in 4 or 8 slices. The most popular pizza is the one with mozzarella fiordilatte, culatello cotto from San Marino, brie, artichokes with oil, vinegar and parsley, and spinach, while among the Crunch pizzas IBurger crunch with 300 grams of meat, cheddar, beefsteak tomato, lettuce, jalapeños and curry mayonnaise wins. The most popular pizza Integrale is the one with mozzarella fiordilatte, grilled vegetables and rinforzino.


Via Cesare Battisti 29, Lonato (Brescia)
tel. +39 030 2077588

Alimento in Brescia, what a nice discovery

Pizzocchera focaccia at Alimento, in Brescia

In the same area, right in Brescia, there’s a new lovely place: Alimento.

It was born on the 14th April last year thanks to two creative people with an entrepreneurial background: Cesare Rizzini, born in 1968, master ice-cream maker and a great expert of dough and leavening, and Michele Valotti, born in 1974, volcanic chef-patron at La Madia in Brione. They met by chance, «we both used to live in Monticelli Brusati», where Rizzini used to run a super ice-cream shop, La Nocciola. They studied each other, and liked each other: so they decided to join their ideas and creativity and created Alimento – in and old bakery from the 1920s that ended its activity eight years ago. The format is original and difficult to define: part ice-cream shop of the highest quality, part focacceria (don’t mention the word pizza) with excellent dough, with toppings by Valotti in which there’s a strong use of fermentation; plus a shop selling good food, mostly made by the dynamic duo.

Rizzini-Valotti enjoy working with «living, changing, seasonal, local, wild raw materials. With a strong attention to the human factor. We don’t like standardisation, we look for ancient varieties, and we like experimenting with fermentations». Given the focus here is dough, let’s say that as for the focaccia, they use type 2 semi-whole flour, with mother yeast, 26 hours of leavening, and the result is strongly hydrated (80%), light, with a long finish; they bake in a ventilated electric oven so that the crust is crispy, but the inside is soft, damp.

Toppings are very creative, «we want to present different standards. Recipes are always a danger, they’re the end»; so we start with a tasting of focaccia with kimchi and candied pear, rigorous and complex, then the rich focaccia Pizzocchera with very highly selected toppings: caciotta Cascina Lago Scuro from Stagno Lombardo (Cremona), and organic raw milk), organic potatoes and cabbage from Armonia Verde from Pozzolengo (Brescia), mountain butter from Azienda Agricola Tanghetti in Bovegno (Brescia), silter from organic farm Andrea Bezzi in Ponte di Legno (Brescia). Finally a tasting of another delicacy: focaccia with jowl bacon cooked for 12 hours at low temperature, rooibos, mashed potatoes and apples.


via Agostino Gallo 6, Brescia


Stefano Manfredi and The New Pizza

There’s a new book in the bookshops: New Pizza. The author is Stefano Manfredi, that is to say Italian cuisine in Sydney. The book is in English and gives a nice take on pizza on the other side of the world without losing its nature. In fact, it acquires energy. I’ll never forget the experience at Pizzaperta. A special note: the Manfredi family is originally from Lombardy. Pizza is something they had to study.

Stefano ManfrediNew PizzaMurdoch Books, 248 pages, £16.99

Unesco pulled out the best pizza

Pay attention, it’s not Neapolitan pizza itself, but the Art of the Neapolitan Pizzaiuolo, something much more important, that has become an Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity, as stated on the website of the Ministry for Agricultural Policies which took care of the procedure. It is right to rejoice in the decision taken unanimously in Jeju in South Korea, where the Unesco summit took place.

The motivation given by the United Nations agency is beautiful: «the culinary knowledge connected with pizza making, which includes gestures, songs, visual expressions, local jargon, handling pizza dough, performing and sharing, is an unquestionable cultural heritage. Pizzaioli and their guests participate in a social rite, in which counter and oven act as "stage" during the production process of pizza. All this happens in a friendly atmosphere that leads to constant interaction with guests.

Paolo Marchi

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Authentica, back to the roots with Franco Pepe

Franco Pepe in front of Authentica’s heart, the oven that can bake pizzas for a maximum of 10 guests in the private room opened informally on the 7th December

The preview took place on Thursday 7th December, with many details that still need fixing, such as a light in the middle and the leather chairs. There will be two more pilot-events on the 20th and 26th December, and as of January, it will be fully running. So we dined in «a place where you can go back to the roots, where you can listen to, meditate, create. Where you can teach, train, and research. An intimate, exclusive place, where flavours are enhanced, where you can go into depth, find peace, and make space for human relations».

All this «used to be a dream. Today it’s called Authentica, the new dining room at Pepe in Grani» in Caiazzo, Caserta, the town all the world now knows thanks to Franco PepePepe is a person who feeds on visions and doubts. When the latter cast a shadow on an idea, he abandons it. In the alley dedicated to San Giovanni Battista, a pizzeria that spreads across three floors, a garden and a terrace, the pizzaiolo from Caserta created a pizzeria within the pizzeria...

Paolo Marchi

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