When Christian Puglisi decided to open his own pizzeria in Copenhagen, he came to Naples to understand what pizza represents in the city where it was born. Then, in the Danish capital, he created a model that was the exact opposite; making the pizzeria a showcase for the products of his farm. In other words, first establishing a farm where he could grow the products and then creating a place to sell these products. He has accomplished this in one of the countries where large agricultural industries have imposed their regulatory models on the rest of Europe through EU directives, reaching paradoxical circumstances such as the impossibility of those who have a restaurant to feed leftovers to the animals they breed. In short, laws that go against elements that have always favored the interests of food multinationals.
In hindsight Italy, the country of the nine thousand municipalities, is not without its own challenges. Yes, because pizza was born in the city as street food, while in the countryside it merely served as a baking test to see when the oven would be ready to bake bread. In light of the great diffusion of the Neapolitan model to other provinces and a little all over Italy, what significance can pizzerias opened in small villages have? Do they have to copy the philosophy of the city pizzerias or can they be something else, something better?
We began with Christian Puglisi, from so far away, because we wanted to consider the small village on the border between Campania and Basilicata, Caggiano. Here the pizza maker Angelo Rummolo and his family have opened a country house after having worked for many years at the Grotto in the historic center of Caggiano. Well, we can say that there is no difference between the philosophy of the Sicilian-Danish chef and that of Angelo Rummolo: here all the products are homemade or come from small farms in the area. Like in Baest, cured meats and dairy products speak the same language. These are healthy products without preservatives; they are good for the body and respectful of the environment. In addition, homegrown products are used such as the herbs found in the mountains, unique flavored truffles and asparagus, white artichokes and many other vegetables. Here is the philosophy that a country pizzeria can adopt: the union of Neapolitan-style dough with locally sourced products. In so doing, that the curvy road that leads to Caggiano turns every curve into a reason to get into the car and come all the way here.
Let’s change scenery and go on to Alvignano, a small town in the high Casertano area where we find another close-knit family at work in their family-owned pizzeria in the town square. Here we are in the land of buffalo-milk mozzarella and Pasqualino Rossi conveys the flavors of his territory through his pizzas and the products he uses while also maintaining traditional methodology such as stone-ground flour.
Angelo Rummolo and Pasqualino Rossi personify two food models which originate from a metropolis yet would be difficult to reproduce in the city. This is why they represent a possible future for pizza: environmental sustainability, an ethical supply-chain, and authenticity. These are not only themes of gastronomy, but also, and increasingly more so, of pizza chefs.
Le Grotticelle a Caggiano
Località Le Grotticelle
Telefono: 0975 196 6171
Pizzeria Elite Rossi ad Alvignano
Corso Umberto I°, 168
Tel 0823 869092
by Luciano Pignataro