Saturday, November 08, 2014

O Fiore Mio - Pizza!

A menu standard, naturally leavened dough, topped with buratta, prosciutto and drizzled with olive oil. 

Davide Fiorentini and Matteo Tambini have passion.   Their ristorante, lying between the cities of Faenza and Milano Marittima, is where something magical is created.  Their team (that extends beyond the establishment walls) has taken water and flour, time and temperature, and sourced the perfect complement of ingredients for each and every dish. 

Their humble wood-fired pizza, starting with that simplest combination of water and flour, is truly a creation borne of that passion.  They select their ingredients: flour, cheeses, meats, fruit and olive oils specific to each of the pizzas. Fruit seems the odd man out here on the chestnut flour pizza base (below), it was no more out out of place than the cheese topping.  As well, their fruit supplier (pictured below) grows an astronomical number of varieties of apples and pears with minimal to no intervention that are the perfect source of natural yeasts from which the dough is made. 

Seasonal chestnut flour base, Raveggiolo, crisp speck and pear (cooked in red wine) drizzled with vino cotto & olive oil.
Beautiful fruit - a great source of natural yeast and breakfast the next day!.
Sumptuous Raveggiolo.
 I didn't get to visit the restaurant (this trip) but lucky for me, this session was a new addition to the 2014 Terra Madre.  Held in the Sala Pizza e Pane or the 'Kiln', it is one that, if attendance is any measure, I am sure will continue.  Thank you to Sr. Fiorentini, Sr. Tambini, their chefs and producers for showcasing their naturally leavened doughs topped with ingredients chosen with care.  Paired with selected sparkling wines from northern Piedmont  - pizza like no other. 

The Team: proprietors, chefs, producers, and lucky participants.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ottimo Ottobre

Heading toward the fountain.
It's the second time I've been to Italy in autumn in the past 3 years and my first October trip to the South. It was spectacular and I'll do it again in a minute. The crowds go home, the locals are back to their routines and the beaches are bare. That said, it was still wonderfully warm during the day, evening walks were pleasant with only a light maglia (sweater) and there is no shortage of things to do, see and taste.

San Giorgio Morgeto - Wednesday market

I spent a week in Calabria wandering around and visiting, getting poked fun at for my broken dialect and joking with the kids in English.  My hosts and the people who came to find me were all so generous.  Just being present when the family was cooking cinghiale over an open fire (to feed 18 people!) was one of the many highlights.

We took the morning before I left for Torino to visit the Bronzi di Riace.  The fact that this stunning find could have remained lost forever, gives me goosebumps even now! Check out  the crazy incredible story of how they came to be in the National Archaeological Museum in Reggio Calabria. Only one of the many fascinating gems of this region.  Admission to the Museo is 5 Euros for adults, 3 Euros if you are 18-25 and under 18 is free.

Bronzi di Riace - Bronzo B

If you get a flight to Rome, Reggio Calabria is a cheap Vueling flight away. Once you are there, the captivating medieval towns, rich history and the surreal flavours of the cooking make it so hard to leave.  But Slowfood, Torino and the land of Barolo were waiting..