by Laura Guerra
That Francesco Calò, Pugliese by birth, pizza maker by vocation and international businessman by choice, is an individual who loves a good challenge is understood immediately. A trend that others have yet to see comes to him intuitively and with the perseverance of one who is determined and who believes in hard work. It is a combination that cannot produce anything but results. This is what happened in 2016 when he opened Via Toledo Enopizzeria in Vienna, thereby breaking every rule of the classic pizza-beer concept and instead investing in and betting on a cantina.
He has perfected the pizza-paring eno-gastronomy – a prestigious label is suggested with a particular slice in a marriage of taste and culture which truly becomes an experience. The selection of wines on the list are exclusively well-known Italian labels, chosen by territory and vintage and recounted with that great care reserved for the experts in wine service.
This decision enabled him to bring home the Best Wine List 2023 – Asti DOCG Award for 50 Top Pizza Europa 2023, conferred at the recent ceremony in Barcelona.
The business idea by Francesco and his wife Chiara deserves recognition and applause. Over time it has become a precise, shared vision: to widen the horizons of the Neapolitan pizza, a working-class dish. Theirs is a reinterpretation that is not only gourmet for the quality of the doughs and the toppings, but a pleasure to appreciate with the right wine, one that is able to underscore the sentiment of the moment, the flavors of the condiments and the seasonality of the ingredients.
Choices range from the classic margherita, the fun montanarina, or the “Puglia doppio crunch,” with a crust that is first fried, then dried in the oven and topped with Pugliese stracciatella, red prawns from Mazara del Vallo and a basil caviar. The suggested accompaniment is a glass of “Le Volte dell’Ornellaia.” Or you could choose the “Marinara in tre cotture,” one of the most requested options, paired with “Cinque Autoctoni” by Vini Fantini, a well-loved label that is perfectly suited to red pizzas. Another winning pair is the “Alga di Mare” which is coupled with Alteni di Brassica – Cantine Gaja.
It is a project that is deeply rooted in tradition, with Francesco wholly convinced in interpreting the concept of Via Toledo Enopizzeria, in an elegant eno-gastronomic slant. It includes a sequence of gestures that are repeated every day and refined by years of experience, giving life to a dream that began in Oria and came to Vienna by way of Dubai. It is now a reality which always looks towards the future.
Their sign of fine drink and excellent pizza has been branded as “Calò”, a historic adjective Neapolitans use to describe a perfect dough. It is one of those few cases where fate was predestined by a name.