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2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-06-06 02:02
Without detracting from the Pizza that Italy has just asked Unesco to nominate as a World Heritage Site, Sunsets, municipality of Salerno, is the country of pizza makers.
The pizza makers who moved all over the world after the war and carried the name of the Salerno municipality everywhere.
And together a particular type of pizza called alla tramontina.
Rigorously cooked in a wood oven, with a rather thick and soft dough, generous dimensions and a medium-shaped cornice.
From Tramonti also comes Giovanni Giò Mandara, Istrian pizza maker moved to Reggio Emilia where he has been managing for 25 years Little Piedigrotta, a pizzeria that deserves all your consideration, demanding readers of Dissapore.
Divided between the internal room and a beautiful glassed-in veranda which in summer extends into the square, it is dominated by the large electric oven, a natural stage that cancels the distances between the pizza chefs and the customers who are always intent on gazing at the preparation of pizzas.
Piccola Piedigrotta, among all the pizzerias that cheer the path of the Via Emilia between Bologna and Milan, is the one where to stop and where to return as soon as possible.
When we arrive Mandara is not in the room but in her laboratory.
"I don't understand how my colleagues manage to open new offices one after the other. I prepare all my doughs by myself because I need to check the maturation minute by minute. Apart from the 'guaglioni' who work in the oven, being there is essential, if I opened in a different city the pizza would no longer be Giovanni's, but someone else's ".
It must be said that speaking is not exactly what you would define as a sedentary or not very dynamic pizza chef: forerunner of street food, five years ago Mandara was equipped with a mobile oven on a trailer.
But let's get to the tasting.
Let's start with a classic Sicilian (tomato, mozzarella, capers from Pantelleria, Calabrian olives, oregano from the Amalfi coast, cost € 8) where the Aspra anchovies are replaced by a box of Bonito del Norte tuna served separately (supplement € 5).
Which in itself explains Mandara's attention to condiments: in addition to the anchovies of Aspra, a fishing village on the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily, near Palermo, where fish has been preserved for centuries with particular salting techniques, and those of the Cantabrian, there are Parmigiano Reggiano delle Vacche Rosse and Corbarino tomato, just to name a few.
But don't think about the exorbitant prices that we have told you by listing the 20 most expensive pizzas in Italy.
At the Piccola Piedigrotta the price range goes from € 6 to € 13, the menu is divided between classic and creative pizzas, white and calzone, the combinations, interesting, are not always orthodox: potatoes and licorice powder to give an example, or crispy speck and buffalo mozzarella.
It's time for the second pizza, it's called MUU (tomato, Pachino tomato, stracciatella from Puglia, Parma ham 24 months, all for € 11). A real treat for the palate.
The maturation of the Mandara dough takes place in the fridge, at a controlled temperature, with times ranging from 4 to 6 days according to the possibilities that the amount of work of the pizzeria allows.
Welcome interval in the tasting: the Agerola biscuit arrives, wholemeal toasted bread softened with sea water and seasoned with San Marzano tomatoes, salt, oregano and extra virgin olive oil.
Born as a conservable food for sailors embarked on the ships of the Republic of Amalfi, it is today a typical product of the small Neapolitan municipality.
If reading "sea water" you have had a moment of amazement, no, it is not a mistake.
You may have heard of it, but if you think that Mandara only uses it instead of salt, to enhance the flavors of the ingredients and give a hand to health, you are out of the way.
"With this chlorine-free water, the dough rises earlier and the pizzas are lighter, softer and more digestible. Especially if a portion of the flour mix is reserved for hemp flour, which is very high in protein, a kind of dough controller ".
The topping of the pizza with hemp flour and sea water is made up of cooked salami from Brarda (a well-known butcher-delicatessen in Turin Cavour), pepper from Peru, fennel julienne and grated lemon zest.
Extreme pizza, it goes without saying, for trained palates and which divides in judgment.
The finish is a little show: double dough pizza (made with two 250gr. Loaves, two) called Giovanna.
Dressing: buffalo mozzarella, Apulian violet artichoke, Parisi eggs (not a breed of poultry but the surname of a famous breeder) Giovanna Capitelli's cooked pancetta (a little pancetta a little cooked ham: salted, smoked, flavored in a honey brine, steamed for 20 hours and in a wood oven for another two) which gives the dish its name.
Applause plate, let me tell you.
Mandara adds: “My loaves are designed to adapt to any type of oven, even the barbecue oven, as long as they are cooked at less than 320 ° C. .
On the menu a small but well thought-out selection of beers: Tipopils by Birrificio Italiano, Il vento 32, Dada (Correggio brewery), Cittavecchia, Bidù and Del Chiostro.
We choose an artisanal limoncello from Mistico Speziale, a Reggio micro-farm with a great future that produces the officinal herbs used in some bitters, liqueurs and spirits, as well as a rare citron lemon.
When we go out it's 11pm on Friday, the third round of table rotation at Piccola Piedigrotta is sold-out.
If you want some advice, go there soon: says Mandara, now 46, who at 50 intends to retire to private life in Tramonti, not far from the Amalfi Coast.
piazza XXV Aprile 1
Tel. 0522 434922