Maestro Pizzaiolo Franco Pepe Thinks Back Looks Forward


 
On the Wednesday morning following PizzaTuesday Naples, my insider’s tour of the pizza heartland, the group met with the great Franco Pepe on the sunny rooftop of Pepe in Grani, his pizzeria in the town of Caiazzo.

PizzaTuesday NaplesRecalling the prior night’s tasting of 10 exceptional Pepe pizzas I put the third-generation pizzaiolo on the spot:

How, I asked, does your pizza compare to that of your father and grandfather?

Pepe smiled uneasily, took a breath, then delivered the response heard in the video above. [Read more…]

Take the #RealBurgerChallenge

Real Burger ChallengeAs creator of BurgerMonday I’ve staged some pretty outrageous burgers, from the UmamiBurger MNO Burger, topped with Port-braised short ribs, truffle cheese, foie gras and truffles, to the Disco Bistro Original Disco Burger, layered with smoked dry-aged short rib, marrow and trotter sauce, Cheddar, pickled onions and bone broth.

Much as I look forward to showcasing still more obscene burgers piled with wild things I do fear we may be losing our way. In the race to out-top one another burger chefs and their fans risk forgetting two burger basics:

– A burger is only as good as its beef patty.

– Get the meat part right and the burger can stand on its own, with little embellishment.

To help put the meat of the matter back in focus I urge home cooks, restaurant chefs and burger dudes everywhere to take the @BurgerMonday #RealBurgerChallenge:

Create a great burger with 1 bun, 1 patty, 1 sauce and 1 topping. [Read more…]

Why Pizza in Naples Has to be So Soft


 

Enzo Coccia with Bendable MargheritaNaples shared its love of pizza and dry pasta with the world many years ago but something got lost in translation. Rather than eat pasta al dente and pizza soft, in the Neapolitan way, foreigners learned to do the opposite.

Non-Italians at last discovered the pleasures of al dente pasta in the late 20th Century. But only recently have hardcore devotees in the pizza diaspora acquired a soft spot for pizza with a light, pliable crust.

In my video above, “Pizza in Naples is Strictly Softcore”, the master pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia of Pizzaria La Notizia explains why Neapolitan pizza must be so soft and light. [Read more…]

A Pox on the Pizza Polka Dots

pizza polka dots
 
Until this week I assumed the appearance of mozzarella polka dots on Neapolitan-style pizzas was an unintended consequence of using the wrong cheese or handling the right cheese improperly.

But groundbreaking London pizza merchants like Franco Manca and Pizza Pilgrims may be convincing a new wave of pizza bakers and eaters that the dots are desirable.

“They’re becoming quite the fashion, aren’t they?” observed Nick Buckland of Yard Sale Pizza, a new pizzeria on Lower Clapton Road in the heart of hipster East London. [Read more…]

Neapolitan Pizza Master Enzo Coccia Loves Stringy Fior di Latte


 

Neapolitans may sing the praises of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP but mostly they eat fior di latte – mozzarella made from cow’s milk – on their pizza.
[Read more…]

Acme Coffee Cups: An Icon as Plain as Can Be

acme bottom greyIf there’s a lesson to be learned from the Looney Tunes Road Runner animated cartoons it’s this:

A-C-M-E spells doom.

[Read more…]

Da Michele’s Master Pizzaiolo Shows His Age

luigi condurroThe very first pizza of PizzaTuesday Naples, the young&foodish group tour of the world’s pizza capital, was shaped by the hands of Luigi Condurro at the legendary L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele.

The master pizzaiolo lightly pinched the corners of the uncooked pizza and stretched it over the pizza peel, using the edges of that long-handled wood paddle to hold the flattened dough’s drawn-out shape.

Luigi the virtuoso voiced his love for pizza with his fingertips, even when addressing the question asked and answered in the short video above. [Read more…]

For 3 Franco Pepe Pizzas, A Special Delivery

Forget the great operatic tenors of La Scala. No voice in all of Italy is so lyrical as that of a Pepe in Grani waiter serving you a Franco Pepe pizza.

At this incomparable pizzeria in a hilltop village some 30 miles (50km) north of Naples, every pizza made by Pepe, the Maestro of Caiazzo, is served with all the pomp it merits.

We’re at the PizzaTuesday Naples special tasting at Pepe in Grani in March and Cesare, the mirthful waiter, assumes the dual role of cameriere and town cryer, calling out the names and descriptions of each of the 1o Pepe masterpizzas he served. Highlights of his performance are captured in the one-minute video Three Franco Pepe Pizzas (above).

If only Pavarotti were alive today to record his own recitation as he disposed of one Franco Pepe pizza after another.

PizzaTuesday at Pepe in Grani Pepe in Grani, Vico S. Giovanni Battista, 3, Caiazzo, Italy (map) – Tel: +39 0823 862718

PizzaTuesday NaplesThe Next PizzaTuesday Naples

PizzaTuesday Naples, an insider’s tour through the world capital of pizza as well its heartland, will return to Pepe in Grani in October. Click here to submit a request for more information.

 

Top 10 Reasons To Love the Salt Beef at Tongue & Brisket

10) Central location on Leather Lane in EC1
9) Sandwich under a fiver.
8) John Georgiou has salt beef is his blood.
7) Briskets rotated in and out of their hot bath.
6) Real rye bread, thickly sliced.
5) Deep flavours not savaged by salt.
4) House-brined briskets hand-carved to order.
3) Tender meat breaks apart under pressure.
2) Lots of meat in a sandwich.
1) Plenty of fat (if you want it).

 
Tongue & Brisket
, 24 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7SU (map)

Bleecker Street Triumphs with Blood and Guts at London Burger Bash Final

bleecker blackZan Kaufman of Bleecker St Burger won the Final of the London Burger Bash on April 5th at Borough Market with a combination of blood and guts. [Read more…]