Four Italian chefs from different nooks of Italy and one flour mill that has been creating flour with high quality parameters for hundreds of years, all in one place. Padua, Italy, 21 March 2017. For this congregation, good pizza was the topic that was foremost in everyone's agenda. Buono a Sapersi (It's Good to Know). What is a good pizza anyway? A good pizza doesn't only entail how delicious it is but of course what we put on top, even in the middle matters but a genuinely good pizza should be healthy and easy to digest. Like what I had been writing here when I wrote about how the flour matters and here when I wrote about a pizzeria that uses good flour, what matters most is the quality of the flour and the technique utilized by the pizza chef. If you can easily digest it and the ingredients are of optimum quality, then classify it as good pizza.
Every pizza chef has a special technique of his own, perhaps it's even a secret of his trade or perhaps, it's something that he likes to spread around to inform other people on how to make a good pizza. In the Buono a Sapersi conference conducted by Tessa Gelisio, the four pizza chefs, namely Guglielmo Vuolo from Naples, Marco Perez from Bolzano, Massimiliano Crocetti from Florence and finally, the youngest, Jacopo Mercuro from Rome, spoke about their methods in assuring that their pizzas are healthy and have high digestibility.
Among the four experts, they only have one thing to say about it - good flour and long rising time for the dough as part of their individual techniques. And in this pizza making process, Le 5 Stagioni of Agugiaro & Figna Mills assures both the pizza chefs and the consumers that their flour had been earmarked for the pizzeria sector after continued studying of the product. Creating quality flour for the health of the consumers has always been paramount in their objectives.
|From top left to bottom right: Jacopo Mercuro, Massimiliano Crocetti, Marco Perez and Guglielmo Vuolo|
Marco Perez, Executive Chef of Ristorante Amistà 33 at Hotel Byblos Villa Amista, Verona has a paternal influence running through his veins in Neapolitan cooking. He grew up in his father's Neapolitan restaurant where the traditional cooking was focused on fish, something that is not so common in the part of Italy where he was born because in Sterzing, the Dolomite mountains circle the area at 360 degrees. With a vast experience in very important restaurants around the world, and a big passion for Italian gastronomy, he is currently teaching cooking techniques in the Master della Cucina Italiana.
Massimiliano Crocetti, proprietor and master instructor at Pizzeria Zero Zero and Biverò Pizza Academy in Florence has an amazing 25-year experience in pizza making. He is a pizza chef by heart through and through and success seems to follow him around. At a young age, he and his brother opened their first pizzeria restaurant in Florence that became a big success then about a decade later, they opened Pizzeria Zero Zero, a bigger pizzeria and fish restaurant specializing in the Campania regional dishes (where Naples is). Soon after, he ventured into another aspect of pizza making by opening his pizza school and doing consulting jobs internationally for the proper way of making Neapolitan pizza. At present, he continues to be successful in his pizza academy that is already known internationally.
Jacopo Mercuro, proprietor of Mani in Pasta in Rome. Not even 30 years-old and already considered one of the best in the country, Jacopo owes his success to his great passion in pizza making. Immediately after he graduated from Associazione Pizzerie Italiane (API) of Angelo Iezzi, he opened his first pizzeria, Mani in Pasta which immediately received an important recognition as one of the best pizzerie in Italy (2 points out of 3). Still focusing in perfecting his pizzas, he continues to study the art of pizza making and at the same time, exchange ideas with his other pizza chef colleagues. For him, the secret of a good pizza is to exchange and to share.
Guglielmo Vuolo of Pizzeria Fratelli Vuolo in Naples is an authority in making Neapolitan pizza from his roots and his 40 years of experience in perfecting the right dough. He is a national advisor, regional trustee and chief instructor in the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). Among his latest creations is making the pizza dough with sea water because aside from the flour and technique, the water also contributes to the quality of the finished product.
At the pizza conference, the four pizza chefs created their own versions of pizzas using Le 5 Stagioni flour. The results were not only very good but also very healthy and highly digestible. I ate a lot without feeling too heavy afterwards. Guglielmo Vuolo, true to his Neapolitan genes, created an outstanding marinara pizza using four kinds of tomatoes with fresh basil from the Campania region. True to the core of a genuine pizza, simplicity with quality ingredients is an important factor in filling up or topping the pizzas.
Jacopo Mercuro instead showed us the Roman picchiapo (recooked leftover meat from boiling after taking away the broth) with salsa verde and cream of potatoes and carrots on top of the pizza al taglio (crunchy outside and oh-so-soft inside).
Massimiliano Crocetti prepared his excellent pizza Margherita, proving again, like Guglielmo Vuolo's that simple and classic combinations work very well with everyone's palates.
Lastly, Marco Perez gave a gourmet approach using Agugiaro & Figna's Grani Antichi flour (ancient grains) that was topped with cream of fresh fava beans, Mediterranean red shrimp - raw and mousse, and Caprino cheese foam. It was delicious combination of fresh flavors in one bite with a very good consistency of the pizza.
Quality meets quality with the pizza and beer pairing because Le 5 Stagioni and 32 Via dei Birrai are good partners in excellence. Each of the pizza was accompanied with a different kind of artisan beer that best fit their flavors.
On a rare occurrence, President Giorgio Agugiaro opened his flour mill in Padua for us, the press, for a tour of the modern plant where he showed us the complete production process. The plant has actually been actively in producing flour from the 15th century, and still committed in the engagement of cutting-edge techniques in setting high quality standard in producing healthy products.
Given the popularity of pizza here in Italy and abroad, it is fundamental to know that one of the most-loved food doesn't only have to be delicious but also healthy and digestible. A genuine Italian pizza is without a doubt, health-friendly and with a good pizza chef and his special technique using quality ingredients, pizza will always remain as one of the best healthy food ever invented.
Le 5 Stagioni Flour
Via Monte Nero, 111
35010 Curtarolo (PD) Italy