Newsletter 50 del 24 marzo 2018

Dear {{NOME}},

This issue of the newsletter dedicated to pizza, celebrates what we experienced, also in terms of bread, in the latest edition of Identità Golose, three weeks ago in Milan. However, Carlo Passera also features the case of Cracco’s pizza, the chef’s take on Margherita in his new establishment in Galleria.

God forbid. Naples, but not just Naples, rose up, as if Juventus had bought Maradona from the local team. I find this quite peculiar. Putting aside that you can have a bad pizza even in the shade of Vesuvius, so much so that some 15 years ago a pizza gourmet movement was born, what really surprises me is this Inquisition rigour in a city that is fascinating also because of its eternal, complete capacity of improvisation.

There are more problems in that town than inhabitants, so how can it be that it’s Cracco that’s offensive? And nobody even wondered what other places in the Galleria in Milan offer in the same category, or in general in Italian tourist cities. Is it all good and often excellent? As if.

Paolo Marchi
Content by Tania Mauri and Luciana Squadrilli; photo by Brambilla-Serrani

 

THE HIDDEN STRENGTH OF TIME

Time flies. It feels like yesterday, when I sent Carlo (Passera) the pre-congress post for Identità di Pizza. Time has a fleeting dimension, yet we have a concrete perception of its flowing, we’re all constantly aware of it.

I’m writing this in one go, right after leaving a conference in which a prominent British company presented the changes in domestic and away-from-home consumption, and the possible response of the food industry to consumers’ emerging needs. I was struck by the result of a research: the more we spend time online, the greater the time we would like to spend with food. And it seems that our relationship with food improves if the food is simpler and we have greater trust in the producer. So once again there’s the human factor, in a play on mirrors between us, sitting by the table, and those who lay the table.

Finding a comfortable place to read and answer emails, take notes, buy something online, chat with friends on social networks, recharge the mobile phone, read a book (printed or digital, it doesn’t matter) is increasingly attractive. And what makes a place more attractive and comfortable than good food? What is the optimal relationship between time and food? And, back to ingredients, how can we modulate the strength of time in the fermentation of dough for pizza and bread? Or in the assisted germination of cereals? What if we discovered there’s an inverse relationship between the time living mother yeast needs to mature and the time you need for a dough made with germinated components? And what’s the role of time in the digestibility of gluten? The hidden strength of time will be the theme of the 13th edition of PizzaUp, the technical symposium dedicated to Italian pizza that is to take place in Vighizzolo d’Este on the 5th-7th November 2018. (Registrations open on the 15th April on www.pizzaup.it)

Piero Gabrieli


What a change for pizza, in eight years!

Having reached the eighth edition of Identità di Pizza – which for some time now also includes bread – Piero Gabrieli from Molino Quaglia assesses the situation: «Eight years ago, pizza wasn’t yet considered an alternative to restaurants. Today, we have speakers from Brazil or Denmark. Dough is universal but then each person has a different sensitivity indicating the way. This day also serves to present pizza’s twofold face, between avant-garde and tradition».


Papoula Ribeiro’s exotic bread

Double debut at Identità di Pane e Pizza: the first speech of the day, and the first speech at Identità Milano, was given by Papoula Ribeiro, with her European-inspired bread that uses the aromas and flavours of Brazil. She graduated in industrial design but then decided to follow her passion for dough. After acquiring varied experience in Europe and Brazil, she now makes panini and loaves, first at Padoca do Manì, then as a sole entrepreneur, also in Sao Paulo: «This is a good time for the bakery scene in Brazil. They’re different from the ones you find here: they’re halfway between a bistro and a café, and most of all they’re places where the community meets, and of course buys bread».

With the help of Italian Gianluigi Tosches, in Sao Paulo for 20 years now, she focused her lesson on fresh and stale bread and its many uses. Hence she first made some fragrant rolls, made with Petra 1 flour in autolysis, adding a little mother yeast, which she enriched with honey, oil of castaña do Parà (brazil nut) and the same nuts, previously soaked and then toasted. She served them to the audience with honey made by Tiuba bees – a local species from the Amazon forest, a pollinator of açai – delicate and almost impalpable. But, she recommended adding a few drops of lime – a blast.

She blended the stale bread and mixed it with eggs, bananas, coconut oil and baking powder and made a delicious banana cake filled with Brazilian aromas. She paired it with a fantastic caramel with Tonka beans and toasted baru seeds (similar to pine nuts), also added to the dough. This is the result, as with all her bread, of ideas and gestures: «Everything is born in the mind, but then you need to transfer it to your hands, so it can come true, and then pass it on to clients. Sharing is essential».


The Piffers and wheat culture

Bread was also the focus of the speech given by brothers Matteo and Ivan Piffer, who have taken over the family business – Panificio Moderno in Rovereto – and facilitated its growth in terms of locations (now six, of which two also include a café and bistro) and quality, working on flour, leavening and dough. «Our work is constantly evolving, and this is how it should be. We are born from bread and work so as to improve it, also by sharing ideas with famers, millers and other bakers. We’ve realised that our raw material is not flour, but cereals».

Hence in their shops they present a real cultural project dedicated to bread. They don’t aim to change habits or tastes, but for people to pay more attention to this food. This is proven by the many tastings they offered to the audience. First, a “compared tasting” of naturally leavened bread made with different cereals, but all with 30% soft wheat: Petra 9 Tutto il grano (100% Italian soft wheat), Tumminia (Sicilian durum wheat) and Solina (soft wheat from Abruzzo), each with its fragrance. Then Terzo Paradiso, a soft sliced bread made with rye, soft wheat and cornflour and inspired by a work by Michelangelo Pistoletto exhibited at Arte Sella – the museum in Trentino that unites art and nature – and represents the union between human knowledge and nature.

On top of tasting it by itself, they cut it in cubes and fried it with butter and thyme, so it becomes the base for Revers, a “destructured sandwich” with ingredients from Trentino: speck, marinated purple cabbage and vezzena cheese, plus candied orange zest. Then a tasting of colomba, the traditional version, and with apples and homemade candied lemons. Finally, Miscuglio Moderno (see: Ivan e Matteo Piffer, il nostro Fattore Umano è la condivisione): that is to say spikes, all different from each other, designed by their collaborators who stayed in the shops so they could participate in the congress.


Simone Padoan gives space to his team

«The human factor is the real image of the restaurant»: the afternoon session dedicated to pizza started with the words of master pizzaiolo Simone Padoan. He pointed out how important it is to share ideas with his staff. They represent the deep identity of the establishment. From the welcome given with focaccia, to pizza and desserts, all the tastings were presented by his guys, who joined him on the stage.

Like Sofia Dammicco, 21, who assembles the ingredients: she told us about their intriguing and curious, delicate and aromatic entrée made with two Grana Padano biscuits that enclose raw meat minced with a knife and seasoned with pink pepper, oil and salt, orange aspic, raw turnip in brine. Mattia Suppi takes care of starters and, at lunchtime and in the evening, works by the oven. He explained the Roman dough used at I Tigli, with 4% barley, jellified Petra 9, a double poolish with Petra 1 and Petra 5 and natural yeast. The result is surprising, with a burnt aftertaste. Silvia Bizzocchi took care of the topping: she prepared marinated goose with citrus fruits’ zest, salt, oil with star anise, cooked in a static oven at 200°C for two and a half hours, then stripped. Finally, they add savoy cabbage and purple cabbage fermented in terracotta, sliced into strips and preserved in brine with daikon, carrots, shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli pepper, wasabi and turmeric.

Japanese pastry chef Aki Noine presented a very delicate and soft rose cake, made with Giovanni Michelini who’s in charge of the workshop and the bread and pastries, served with a cream made with cornflour but without eggs, and aromatised with orange, honey and marsala.

Finally Giada Mastrotto presented her “goodnight herb tea” inspired by aromatised water; a tonic water aromatised with gin, ginger, lime and mint leaves, for a refreshing and cleansing effect. (The team also includes the talented Francesco Zaninelli).


Ravagnan: our human factor is team work

 

Lello Ravagnan and Pina Toscani from pizzeria Grigoris in Mestre, partners in life and in business, explained how in their case the human factor is about using only products from small producers and investing on their team, in terms of money and profession. But there’s more: for them, clients also contribute in creating the identity of the restaurant.

«When we first started ten years ago, we asked ourselves what we had to do to make something beautiful and durable». So they took care of everything: location, staff, raw materials, clients. With a fundamental concept: sharing, getting everyone involved, with humility and respect. So today at Grigoris you can (also) find poetry and stories, different people and experiences, beauty and hospitality. Every pizza has a story, a logo, an artisan and a choice worth explaining.

Ravagnan presented two pizzas, both using a dough with three types of mother yeast (solid in water, in cream and natural yeast) and Petra 1 bio and Petra 1 flour. The result is a pizza with a thick chewable edge, in a double version: one is classic, with fiordilatte, Apulian stracciatella, prosciutto from mora romagnola and mustard emulsion; the other with fiordilatte, bottarga from Cabras from Pino Spanu, powdered orange zest, crudaiolo artichoke from Sardinia and fresh marjoram.

At the end, they offered a soft Venetian focaccia “seasoned” with Corrado Assenza’s candied fruit and a delicate foamy cream of mascarpone.


Giuseppe Oliva’s other pizza

Sicilian, the son and grandson of bakers, he was once a sailor who travelled across the oceans and then landed in cold Denmark where he returned to his origins: that is to say cooking, or better, kneading. Giuseppe Oliva works with Christian Puglisi at Baest in Copenhagen, the famous young and international restaurant with farm and vegetable garden, both traditional and innovative.

For him, the human factor is about always looking for food artisans and for their unique products: an important value, worth developing. At Baest he “only” offers ten pizzas. Marinara and Margherita are always available, the others change depending on seasonal ingredients and Oliva’s creativity. He makes dough using a blend of five different types of flour, local and non-local, and mother yeast with 75% hydration. The result is a crispy, thin, light pizza with a pleasant aftertaste.

At Identità di Pizza Oliva presented Marinara with tomato, excellent stracciatella made at Baest (they have 16 cows from which they get 180 litres of milk per day, making various dairy products as well as a more than decent mozzarella) and Danish garlic. Then he made a “white” pizza with pancetta sheep’s milk ricotta they make themselves, wild garlic, chilli pepper macerated in cherry vinegar and grated lemon zest.


Acciaio-Tomaino, the courage of being daring

«Our human factor is this machine». Jessica Tomaino and Luigi Acciaio know what they want, they’re willing to work hard and are not afraid to be daring. They’ve invented and patented a kneading machine that joins modernity and traditional hand work, so as to make an assisted dough that can give a high hydration to whole wheat Petra 9 flour: while the container rotates in one sense, Luigi’s hand goes in the opposite direction and they can make poolish in a matter of seconds. Each night they have as many as 11 types of dough. The most popular one is whole wheat with 15% unrefined salt: it rests for 2 hours at room temperature and the result has 95% hydration (in total, it leaves and matures for 60 hours).

Until they open the next three 3 places in the Torino area, in Moncalieri they have 96 pizzas in the menu, «it’s all Jessica’s fault – says Luigi – She can’t say no. When a client asks for a variation and it works, she adds it to the menu».

For the pizza with Petra 9 and 100% hydration they present a classic topping of tomato, buffalo milk mozzarella and oil. Then they start experimenting: pizza boiled in water with enkir flour and again Petra 9. Boiled pizza? Yes, according to Luigi, who dips it into a pot filled with water and salt and then finishes cooking it in the oven. An original idea that needs fine-tuning.


Renato Bosco, new ideas in ferment

 

Renato Bosco has arrived at Identità Milano 2018 with most of his “human factor”: that is to say Saporè’s collaborators – 45 pairs of hands and 45 hearts, as recalled in the video introducing the lesson – and students from Amatrice’s catering school. The latter had previously attended Renato’s lessons in Rieti, part of the "Fare Formazione" project. Both collaborators and students joined him at Identità di Pizza.

Their stories are varied. There’s Antonella Bondi, the ”alchemist” thanks to whom he created a line that he called, in fact, Emozionare: aromas they spray so as to enhance the culinary experience, from freshly baked bread to apple pie. The guys’ “ferment” resulted in a new dough based on poolish made with broken wheat hydrolysis and a fruit ferment. After maturing overnight, the texture is special: the resulting pizza is thick and airy, delicious.

Together with Fabio Grassitelli, chef at SaporèBosco tops it with typically Italian seasonal ingredients, though with a slight foreign touch thanks to Tushi Pereira, a pizzaiolo from Sri Lanka: the pork belly is marinated in the Bengalese style but with Italian spices, matched with apple, pumpkin, cardoncelli mushrooms and fiordilatte, plus the ”bread air” sprayed in the room. Renato uses fermented apple, mixed with flour and poolish, to make another baked product served with apples fried with cinnamon and a pomegranate sauce which, in this case, are served while spraying apple pie aroma to underline the sweet essence.


Franco Pepe presents his Legumisana

 

At Identità di Pizza  Franco Pepe told us about his incredible career: from the family business to Pepe In Grani in Caiazzo – a constantly evolving place, now with the new Authentica, a room where he offers 8 guests a unique sharing experience of tasting and exchange of knowledge. And then La Filiale at Albereta and Kitaly in Geneva... But Pepe’s evolution is also about his style: from a super traditional pizza (inspired by experience and what he learnt from his father, a pizzaiolo and baker) to a new inspiration, still rooted in tradition but looking at the future, and based on scientific knowledge, from the fields to the oven, working with artisans, suppliers, agronomists, chefs, nutritionists.

At the congress, he presented an extraordinary pizza that looks both at the past and at the present: Legumisana. For the dough he uses flour made with wheat and legumes. He tops it with products from the Alto Casertano region: cream of Lenzariello beans and a purée of riccio tomatoes, Nero Casertano salami, wild thyme, garlic, chilli pepper and rosemary, and raw leaf of endive plus local extra virgin olive oil. «I presented the typical pasta e fagioli, an emblem of the Mediterranean diet, once a substitute to animal proteins, on a pizza. A delicious and healthy recipe».


Cracco’s pizza. Our own impressions

Foto Tanio Liotta

In the flood of idiotic comments that were written in the past few days one thing is for sure: Carlo Cracco’s debated pizza is delicious. It has every right to bear this name. It is a signature pizza, whether you like it (as we do) or not.

It’s not a traditional Neapolitan pizza. And it doesn’t aim to be one. After all, imagine Cracco pulling out of the oven a gummy pizza like any ordinary man. In fact, it’s not even a “gastronomic”, “contemporary”, “Padoan-style” pizza: choose whatever term you may prefer, even though there is some influence from the Venetian school. The dough is basically the Venetian one, 24 hours of leavening with mother yeast and most of all flour rich in fibres (Petra 9, 100% soft whole wheat) which results in a crispy texture on the outside, soft on the inside, and very airy and light. Indeed, the dough is excellent, delicious, it makes you wish for more and more.

And given the disc is very aromatic, it needs a topping that can keep up with it. In this case, Cracco doesn’t follow the gastronomic pizza style (in which toppings are basically a dish per se, to be added at the end, shortly before service); instead, he focuses on a more classic version. But in his own way.

So he doesn’t use a watery tomato purée, but a concentrated version, an explosive San Marzano tomato, but well balanced between sweet and acid notes.

The buffalo milk mozzarella is cut into thick slices, so they remain rather compact, and give the aroma of milk: the disc is pre-cooked in a state-of-the-art electric oven, then seasoned before completing its baking. To finish, dehydrated basil leaves (instead of the debated seeds), and extra virgin olive oil.

On the palate, the ensemble is very well accomplished, and truly delicious, where wheat and tomatoes have the main role. In other words, as we said, it’s a signature version of pizza.