Category Archives: Pizza

CAMPANIA STORIES: PIZZA NAPOLETANA AT LE PARÙLE

Ristorante and Pizzeria le, Parùle www.leparule.it in Herculaneum, modern day Ercolano, near Naples, has a great reputation. It had been recommended by a friend, Marina Alaimo, wine and food writer, who knows it well, and I read about it on Luciano Pignataro’s blog, www.lucianopignataro.it.  I had wanted to try it when I was in the area in February but even though it is just a short train ride from Naples, I did not have time to go.IMG_0070

Last month, I was invited once again to the area by Campania Stories to taste the wines of the principle  zones of Campania, visit the wineries and have dinner with the winemakers at night. To my surprise and delight, one of the restaurants where we were scheduled to dine was Le Parùle. The name means vegetable garden in Neapolitan dialect.

Giuseppe Pignalosa

Giuseppe Pignalosa

Giuseppe Pignalosa is the owner/chef/pizzaiolo and is very serious about his food, especially pizza. He insists on using only the best ingredients from the Mont Vesuvio region. Even though we were a very large group at dinner, Giuseppe made all of the pizza himself.

Giuseppe at work

Giuseppe at work

La Pizza

I sampled 4 pizzas. This is how they were listed on the menu:

Margherita:IMG_0063

Antichi pomodori di Napoli, fior di latte dei Monti Lattari, olio extravergine d’oliva del Vesuvio “Villa Dora”

Scarolella:IMG_0067

Scarola (indivia) del Vesuvio, fior di latte del Monti Lattari, alici di Cetara, olive nere del Vesuvio, capperi di Salina, olio extravergine d’olio D. O. P. “Colline Salernitane di Torretta”, granella di nocciole.

Primavera:IMG_0073

Fave e germogli del Vesuvio, ricotta salata, pancetta, fior di latte dei Monti Lattari, olio extravergina d’oliva “Goccio di Natura” del Benevento az. agr. D’ Assisi

Montanara (pizza fritta):IMG_0076

Pomodorino del piennolo del Vesuvio, mozzarella di bufala Campana D. O. P., olio extravergine d’oliva del Cilento D.O.P. “Monzo” of Pietra BiancaIMG_0081

We also had fried pasta balls and potato croquettes.IMG_0143

Among the wines I tasted and drank was the Gragnano 2015 “Otto uve” Penisola Sorrentina from Salvatore Martusciello. It is made from Aglianico, Piedirosso and Sciascinoso. This is a red sparkling wine that is a favorite in the Naples area with pizza.

Le Parùle alone is worth the trip, but to make a day of it, next time I will combine it with a tour of the ancient Roman city Herculanum destroyed by the famous eruption of Mont Vesuvio on August 24th 79 AD.

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Carnival Lasagna and Carnival Pizza in Naples

 

We arrived in Naples but our luggage did not. When we arrived at the hotel, the room was not ready. No room and no luggage. So, naturally, we went for pizza at da Ettore, Via Santa Lucia 56.   We had not been here for a number of years but Michele had always liked the pizza and it was not far from the hotel.IMG_9647

Although there is a lot of buzz in Naples now about all the hot new pizza places, Da Ettore is traditional Neapolitan pizza at it best. IMG_9646We started with fried zucchini flowers, which were batter fried and unstuffed. Delicious. Then I had the pizza margarita.IMG_9645

Michele had the margarita with bufala mozzarella. Both were light and judiciously sauced with tasty tomatoes and good cheese.

Osteria Della Mattonella Via G. Nicotera 13. Since it was Carnevale in Naples, every restaurant was serving Lasagna di Carnevale, a Neapolitan interpretation of the classic pasta, layered with sausages, tiny meatballs, ricotta, hard cooked eggs and cheese.IMG_9648

Michele said it was just like the one her grandmother use to make. A very old fashioned restaurant, the walls here are covered in tiles and photos of Neapolitan film stars, such as Toto and Sofia Loren. To reach it, you must take an elevator from the street below, Via Chiaia.IMG_9651

Da Nennella 103 Vico LungoTeatro Nuovo. This is a very popular restaurant because the food is very good and the prices are very low.IMG_9654

I started with Alici Fritti, and then Mezzi Paccheri al Pomodoro Fresco which was wonderful Michele had Palline di Ricotta Fritte and Mezzi Paccheri con Zucca and Provola, pasta rings with squash and smoked mozzarella. On the way out, we were given small plastic chips that we could exchange for caffe and baba. Noisy, busy and a lot of fun, plus the food was very good.IMG_9656

MUU_ Muuzzarella Lounge, Vico 2 Alabardieri This restaurant was around the corner from our hotel and they served mozzarella with meat, vegetables or fish. We had Mozzarella E Soppressata, Fiori di Zucca con Ricotta, and Mozzarella in Carrozza, but the highlight was the Ricotta di latte di bufala with honey, pine nuts and raisins.   I could not stop eating it, slathered on good bread. IMG_9663

La Taverna a Santa Chiara 6  We started with Fried Provola and an assortment of local Cheeses and Salumi. Then I had Fusilli Pasta with Tomato and Ricotta di Fuscella, what is often sold in the US as “basket cheese”, a drier form of fresh ricotta (to die for). Michele had Maccheroncini with Eggplant, Zucchini and Small Tomatoes. Then we shared Grilled Sausages and Friarielli (the local broccoli rabe), and a half liter of Gragnano.IMG_9671

Da Attilio in Spaccanapoli, via Pignasecca 17 In the colorful Pignasecca Market, this small pizzeria filled up quickly at lunchtime. I had the Carnival pizza, star shaped pizza with the points of the crust filled with ricotta. We also shared a Pizza Margarita and Pizza Fresca with arugula and prosciutto.

Ciro a Santa Brigida, Via Santa Brigida 71/73  Our last meal in Naples was particularly memorable. This is a place we return to often. We began with Fried zucchini flowers, which were crisp and flavorful. Then I had the Octopus alla Luciana, with lemon and olive oil and Ziti alle Genovese, ziti with an onion and meat sauce, a Neapolitan classic.

IMG_9682Michele had Linguine with Moscardini (baby octopus) and tiny tomatoes, followed by a Frittura Misto di Pesce, little fish, calamari and shrimp fried in a crispy crust. With it we drank Pallagrello Bianco.

IMG_9684 For dessert I had a classic crème caramel.

 

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Pizza Tour of Naples

 

New York City winters can be brutal, and this one was no exception.  Michele and I wanted to get away, but where to go?  Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean? We have tried them all and found them lacking. Not because of the weather, which was great, but lacking because of the food and wine! So we decided to go where the weather would be better than in NYC and still find great food and wine:  Naples and Rome.IMG_7299

Naples is the most unique of the Italian cities.  It is like one big street fair, there is so much going on all the time. Naples also has a natural beauty.   Mt.Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples are breathtaking.  The Neapolitans are theatrical and dramatic, and of course there is the food. The best pizza is Neapolitan pizza and the best place to have it is, of course, Naples.IMG_7241

It was a beautiful sunny day when we arrived and we decided to go for pizza by the waterfront.  One cannot think of Naples without thinking of pizza.

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria

 

We went to Gino Sorbillo-AKA Lievito Madre al Mare, they have 3 locations in Naples.  This one is on Via Partenope overlooking the Bay of Naples. They have a large outside dining area and it was very crowded, everyone wanted to sit outside.  Here is a sample of the menu:

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A big trend in Naples is for the pizzerias to list the source for their ingredients, many of which are organic and artisanally made.  On the menu, a green leaf  showed that the product was Biologica and a snail if it was recognized by “Slow Food”.IMG_7242

Michele had the MargheriTTa Gialla Massimo Bottura, made with tiny yellow tomatoes and bufala milk cheese. These deep yellow tomatoes had a honey-like flavor and were among the sweetest I have ever tasted.
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The next day on the way back from our tour of Naples Underground we stopped at Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria- San Domenico Maggiore Piazza. They also give the source of the products they use and even the name of their pizzaiolo, Maestro Michele Leo, is listed on the menu.  Next door, they also have an elegant Michelin-starred restaurant, which we did not visit.

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This place was recommended by Maurizio de Rosa, who was born in Naples and is a partner in Prova Pizzeria in NYC.IMG_7264

Michele had a pizza Margherita and I had a fried pizza stuffed with ricotta and cicoli, which are the little crispy bits left after rendering out the lard from pork fat.  IMG_7287

Before we left NYC we went to Don Antonia by Starita and spoke with Roberto Caporuscio, the owner and pizzaiolo. We have known Roberto for a number of years ever since he opened Keste. Roberto said we must go to Pizzeria Starita a Materdei dal 1901.  The owner, Antonio Starita is his mentor and partner in the New York restaurant.  IMG_7282

Our friend food writer Arthur Schwartz, who spends part of each year in Salerno, decided to come to Naples to join us. It turned out there were five of us, Arthur, his partner Bob Harned, and their friend Contessa Cecilia, who drove.IMG_7284

We ordered fried zucchini flowers, arancini and potato croquettes to start. Then we had Pizza Maradona, a fried rolled stuffed pizza, Pizza Mastanicola topped with lard, basil and pecorino, and a Sorrentina pizza made with sliced lemons and provola cheese.IMG_7283

We arrived at 12:30 and when we left there was a long line waiting for a table even though this is a large place.IMG_7290

50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo , Piazza Sannazzaro 201/B. This is the hottest pizza place in Naples right now, the one everyone is talking about.  The pizzaiolo, Ciro Salvo has researched pizza making techniques and insists on a very long slow rise for his dough which results in a tender and more digestible crust.  He uses only the finest ingredients for his toppings.  In Greek, the name Kalo means beautiful and good.IMG_7292

We started with a few fried foods, potato croquettes and frittatine, cheesy pasta shaped into disks and fried, which were excellent.  Then we had a Pizza Margherita and Pizza Porcini with sausages.IMG_7293

If you go here for dinner, it is best to get there early. It is a big place but if you arrive after 8:00 PM you will wait on a long line to get in.
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For the most part the Neapolitans  drink, beer, soda and acqua minerale with their pizza.The wine lists at the pizza places are  for the most part short and the price for a  bottle of wine produced in Campania  is about 18 to 20 euros, about what you would pay retail in the US for the same wine. Among the wines we drank which went very well with where a Coda di Volpe “Amineo” 2013 Cantina del Taburno, Lettere della Penisola Sorrentina 2013  Grotta del Sole, a red sparkling wine and Falanghina Sant’ Agata Dei Gotti 2013 Mustilli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 50 Kalo di Ciro Salvo Pizzeria, Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria, Naples, Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Starita Pizzeria a Materdei dal 1901, Uncategorized

2nd Annual Global Pizza Summit & 1st USA Caputo Cup Pizza Championship

The Second Annual Global Pizza Summit & First USA Caputo Cup Pizza Competition took place in NYC at Neapolitan Express on the Upper Eastside. The sponsors were Antico Molino Caputo makers of “La Farina di Napoli,” and Ciao Italian Peeled Tomatoes. Not only did I learn all about pizza but also I tasted pizza made by some of the top pizzaioli in the country.IMG_6984

Representing Antico Molino Caputo was Dott. Antimo Caputo, the owner and 4th generation flour maker. Representing Ciao Italian Tomatoes was the owner Constantino Cutolo.

Roberto Caporuscio

Roberto Caporuscio

Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Pizza and Vino and Don Antonio pizzeria, and US President of the Association of Neapolitan Pizza-Makers gave the first seminar I attended on Making Neapolitan Dough Using Caputo Gluten-Free Flour.

According to the package, Gluten Free Flour is a Caputo proprietary blend of “rice and potato starches, rice and soy flour, sugar thickeners and dietary fiber.” These are all natural ingredients and all are naturally gluten free.

Shaping Gluton Free dough

Shaping Gluton Free Dough

Roberto gave us his recipe for the gluten free pizzas he serves at his pizzerias

1 kg bag of Gluten Free Caputo Flour

25-27 oz of water (hint- start with 25oz and add more if  needed until you reach the desired dough

3g yeast

1 1/2 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3g baking soda (Roberto said that the oil and baking soda  helps the gluten free dough to stretch)

1oz salt

Roberto charges $5 more than a regular pizza for the gluten free because it is more expensive and labor intensive to produce and more dough is required for each pizza. He also makes bread from the gluten free flour

Because the dough is gluten-free, it will not stretch like a typical Neapolitan pizza dough made with 00 flour. All of the shaping of the dough must be done on a surface and the dough cannot be picked up or folded over to shape it

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Whole Wheat Dough before it is mixed with 00 White Flour

There was also a demonstration of dough made from Caputo Integrale Whole Wheat Flour “00”.

This flour has a slightly coarse or gritty texture and beige color with light brown flecks. It is made by grinding up the whole wheat berry including the bran. The flour is produced by the traditional method of milling whole wheat grains. There are no additives, just pure wheat.IMG_6920

It is necessary to mix whole wheat flour with 00 white flour when making pizza or the dough would be too heavy.

The proportions are 30% to 45% whole wheat flour and the rest regular “00” flour. It needs less rising because of the sugar content and the bran. The dough made with a blend of 00 and whole wheat flour can be handled just like regular dough.IMG_6943

Dott. Antimo Caputo spoke about flour. His “00” flour is finely ground and has a lower gluten content than most flours. Gluten levels are controlled by selecting different strands of wheat for processing. Signore Caputo said that 00 is made from a selection of the finest grains available to give the dough just enough, but not too much, stretch at 12.5% gluten.  Gluten is the natural protein that remains when starch is removed from wheat grains. It creates the elasticity you feel when you bite into a crunchy loaf of bread. The lower the protein content of the flour, and the lower the gluten, the less elasticity there will be in your dough (cake flour has the lowest gluten level). In comparison, bread flour is high in gluten and is made from wheat that has 14-15% gluten. The “00” refers to the texture of the flour: Italian flours are classified by numbers according to how finely they are ground, from the roughest ground “tipo” 1, to 0, and the finest 00. IMG_6930

Here is a recipe for Neapolitan-style pizza dough for the home oven:  Makes Four  9 to 10 inch pizzas: 

I teaspoon active dry yeast

1-3/4 cups warm water-105° to 115° F

3-1/2 to 4 cups 00 flour

2 teaspoons salt

Olive oil for the bowl the dough will rise in

Caputo introduced a new flour called New York Style Pizza Flour. He said it had higher protein and gluten levels and added malt. I guess that you use it for all other types of Pizza except Neapolitan.IMG_6938

Constantino Cutolo of Ciao Peeled Italian Tomatoes, spoke about Italian tomatoes. He said his tomatoes came from North of Naples and South of Salerno and are pear shaped. In answer to a question he said that San Marzano tomatoes are longer and come from the area around Mount Vesuvius. Italian Tomatoes are sweeter than American tomatoes. He also introduced a new product called Authentica Pizza, peeled tomatoes for pizza made with Caputo NY Style Pizza Flour. Both were made for the American market. IMG_6966

There was also a mozzarella making demonstration by Pasquale Guerella, artisan cheese and mozzarella specialist, from Lasurdo Foods makers of Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Curd.

Pizza Challenge: Neapolitan-Style.

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It was difficult to keep track but there must have been close to 50 piazzioli that took part in the challenge.

Three trophies awarded:IMG_6998

Gazmir Zenili of Rossopomodoro in NYC 1st prize and the check for $1,000 dollars.IMG_6975

Francesco Montuori of Rossopomodoro Chicago came in second.

Israel Hernandez from Utah came in third.

A seminar on “Protecting Neapolitan Pizza with recognition from UNESCO World Heritage” took place at Rossopomodoro in Greenwich Village.   When I asked if gluten free and whole wheat flour pizza are included as Neapolitan pizza to be protected, the answer was yes.

See link below for information on protecting Neapolitan Pizza.

https://www.change.org/p/proteggiamo-il-made-in-italy-la-pizza-come-patrimonio-unesco-2

 

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Pizza and Hygienic Terrorism in Italy

The following article was published  by Jeremy Parzen on his Blog Do Bianchi 

Does Pizza Cause Cancer? Italy’s Big Pizza Kerfaffle

by Do Bianchi

italian pizza cancer report raiAbove: the last pizza I ate in Italy in Lecce in October 2013, a “napoletana” with salt-cured anchovies and capers.

Every Italian food and wine blog that I follow posted yesterday on a controversy sparked by a Sunday evening news program aired by RAI 3, one of Italy’s three national television networks.

The show, “Report,” is analogous to “20/20” on ABC or “48 Hours” on CBS, a “gotcha” news program that generates views and clicks by means of pseudo-investigative reporting.

In Sunday night’s show, entitled “Let’s not burn our pizza,” the producers contend that because Italian pizzaioli (pizza makers) do not properly clean their pizza ovens, the resulting “hydrocarbons” in “burnt pizzas” can cause cancer.

pizza report rai 3Image via the RAI 3 site, where you can view the entire show online.

The residual burnt flour that discolors the bottom of the pies, says one University of Venice toxicology professor interviewed by the producers, is similar to the exhaust that you breathe on the freeway.

The producers make other outrageous claims as well: the use of oils other than olive oil, low quality flour, and even the boxes for delivery pizza can also be cancerogenic, they report.

Between yesterday and today, Neapolitan journalist Luciano Pignataro — one of Italy’s leading wine and food bloggers — published seven posts on his blog in response to what one of his contributors calls “hygienic terrorism.”

In a press conference yesterday organized hastily by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (the Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Association), Professor Antonio Limone, commissioner of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno (Experimental Veterinary Prevention Institute of Southern Italy), stated flatly that “the amount of hydrocarbons found in a burnt pizza is less than in mussels” (source: Luciano Pignataro Wine Blog).

“We cannot stand for attacks like this against [the region of] Campania,” said Antonio Startita during the conference, a “historic” pizzaiolo who works in the Materdei ward of Naples. “We must defend our treasures. A Neapolitan pizza not cooked in wood-fired oven is unthinkable.”

Do Bianchi | October 7, 2014 at 10:59 am | Categories: de cibo, de rebus italicis | URL:http://wp.me/p5ma7-6wm

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More Pizza and Wine

Friends are always recommending new pizza places to Michele and I. Recently two friends recommended the same place, one of them a wine producer from Campania, we just had to go. The name of the place is Pizzetteria Brunetti at 626 Hudson Street. The test of any pizzeria is the pizza margarita and this one was very good as were the others that we ordered.IMG_4483

With the pizza we drank a wine that I have not had before so it was two firsts for me.

Montecucco Rosso DOC “Tribolo” Poggio Stenti ( Tuscany)100% SangioveseIMG_4485

The hillside vineyards are at 200 meters above sea level, along the Orcia River. The soil has a high percentage of clay, which helps maintain water reserves from winter and spring rainfall..

The grapes are harvested in mid-September, when reaching sugar levels of 22-23 percent. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and lasts for about 15 days at controlled temperatures, with skin contact.  .Malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel. The wine is left to age for about 12 months in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged for an additional six months in bottle before release. Since everything is done in stainless steel this is a  fresh and fruity wine with flavors reminiscent of cherries, peaches and blueberries. It is very well structured and offers a long, persistent finish and the wine can age. $28 IMG_4486

The wine went very well with the pizza margarita

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Filed under Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Pizza, Pizzetteria Brunetti, Poggio Stenti "Tribolo"

Neapolitan Pizza and BYOB

 

A Mano, a pizzeria/restaurant in Ridgwood, New Jersey announced that they would be hosting a pizza making demonstration with two of Naples’ greatest pizzaioli, Antonio Starita of Starita a Materdei in Naples, and Roberto Caporuscio of Keste in NYC. Roberto is from the Naples area and trained with Antonio in Naples.  This was a demo I did not want to miss, so along with several friends, we reserved right away. On the day of the demo, over 150 people gathered at the restaurant.  We found our friends, took our seats, and had just enough time for a glass of wine before the demo began. Both Roberto and Antonio were assisted by Adolfo Marletta of La Spaghetta in Naples.

Roberto Caporuscio of Keste needing the dough

 Roberto began by explaining how he makes his dough.  He said that the flour he prefers is a high quality one manufactured by Caputo in Naples.  He uses only their “double zero” flour, which has less gluten in it so that it is easier to stretch.  He uses a special type of mixer that kneads the dough gently.  He demonstrated how to knead the dough by hand.  Then he shaped it into little balls weighing about nine ounces for each pizza. He did this by holding it with one hand and with the other shaping it the same way one would when making mozzarella. 

Antonio Strarita putting the finishing touches on the pizza

Antonio and Roberto mentioned that they had just returned from the Pizza Fair in Las Vegas. Someone in the audience asked who had won the pizza tossing event.  Both men looked puzzled.  Roberto said that they don’t toss the pizza in the air in Naples, while Antonio shook his head and with his hand made a slight back and forth movement saying very softly, mai (never).  They explained that rough handling ruins the dough. 

Margarita

 

Antonio then demonstrated how to shape the dough into a flat disk. He took a ball of dough and gently stretched it in four easy motions, rotating it and folding the edge toward the middle. Next he added pureed Italian canned tomatoes, mozzarella, and a touch of olive oil.  After it was placed on the peel, he stretched the disk out so that it almost doubled in size. He quickly slid the pizza into the wood burning oven and about a minute or so later it was done. The result was perfect Neapolitan style Margarita pizza. Margarita is the queen of pizza, there is no king.

The " Lemon Pizza"

 

I asked Antonio if he would make us his famous “lemon pizza”. This pizza is topped with smoked provola (smoked bufala mozzarella) and thin slices of lemon. I had tasted this pizza once before, when Antonio had been at Keste. It was so good that I had to have it again. He was only too happy to do it. It was as good as I remembered it and went very well with the wine we were drinking.

I then asked him to make another pizza of his choice. He made one of the best marinara pizzas that I have ever had. Roberto told us later that Antonio’s secret is to add a touch of pecorino cheese and a little oregano.

Calzone

 We also enjoyed the little fried calzone filled with ricotta.

 The wines

Most townships in NJ do not allow wine, beer or liquor to be sold in restaurants so we took advantage and brought the following wines.

 Barolo Riserva 1999 100% Nebbiolo Monchiero. This wine was ready to drink. I believe the 1999 was a vintage that can be drunk after 10 years. It had all the Nebbiolo characteristics and went very well with the food as did all the wine.

 Vino Spanna Cantina Castello di Montalbano 1964 Vallana. 1964 was a great vintage in Piemonte. On many of the older bottles of Vallana they have Castello this or that, but the Castellos never existed and with the DOC are no longer on the label. Spanna is the local name for Nebbiolo in this area of Novara in Piemonte. This wine is Nebbiolo with the possible addition of Aglianico! In Italy’s Noble Red Wines, Sheldon Wasserman states that  “Vallana is a master blender…Rumor has it that he used to blend Aglianico from Basilicata into his wines to give them the body and strength that they needed to age and develop.” Wasserman felt that when they stopped doing this, the wines were not as good. Today the wine must be at least 85% Spanna with the possible addition of Vespolina and Bonarda. I am happy to report that I have tasted more recent vintages of the Vallana wines and they have almost come all the way back even without the Aglianico. Tom Maresca gives a full report on the Vallana wines: Vallana: An Old Favorite Returns

 Barbaresco 1967 Produttori del Barbaresco 100% Nebbiolo. This is one of the oldest co-ops in Italy and possible the best. This is also the oldest bottle I have tasted which was not a single vineyard. The label was not the same as the one they use today. This was everything that an old Barbaresco should be and more.

 Barolo Riserva 1967 Borgogno.  This is a great wine. I have had many older bottles of Borgogno Barolo and they age very well. All those aromas that I love in old Barolo were there-faded roses, tar, tea, leather and mushroom.

  Burgundy 2001 Hospices de Nuits Laboure-Roi 100% Pinot Noir. This was the last wine and it did not disappoint as we sat sipping it and talking about the great pizza, great pizza makers (i pizzaioli) and Naples.

 It was a great evening at A Mano and I wanted to start making plans to go back to Naples and visit Starita a Materdei. In the meantime, since I live in NYC I will go to Keste when I want great pizza.

Join Roberto, Michele and me for a pizza tour of Italy www.loveofpizzatour.com

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Filed under Calzone, Italian Red Wine, Italian Restaurants, Italian Wine, Neapolitan Pizza, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Pizza Restaurants