You may be wondering what would drive someone to dream of pizza. It didn’t happen over night, it has been an accumulation of my life experiences and a culmination of my many loves in life.
When Jack Brooks wrote the lyrics to ‘That’s Amore’ for Dean Martin’s Hit Single, he was writing about the signs of falling in love and comparing them to amazing Italian cuisine. Most people think of love when they listen to that song. When I listen to that song I hear pizza pie, wine, and pasta fazool. I think of a different kind of love – my love of FOOD.
Besides appealing to my love of food, it appeals to my love of everything Italian. I had the privilege of living in Rome while I studied Architecture. As I meandered through Rome’s streets admiring the Architecture, I also indulging my other senses. I took in the wonderful aromas from the bakeries and restaurants, I sampled gelato on a regular bases, on occasion I devoured a whole ciabatta loaf, warm and fresh from the oven, and I would dream about my next meal. I was surprised by the simple complexity of Italian cuisine. It is composed of simple and often basic ingredients but the complexity comes from the quality of the ingredients and the care taken to cook them. I found that the overall rule of thumb was to keep it simple. The ingredients should speak for themselves. For example, the flavour of a good, ripe tomato, combined with aromatic fresh basil and slices of real mozzarella di buffalo sprinkled with a pinch of salt and drizzled with some of the best tasting extra virgin olive oil that I’ve ever tasted.
The pizza was the most eye opening experience for me. I attribute it to the fact that in high school I worked at a place called Capri Pizza. It is still my favourite job to date. I made some of your slightly above par, Canadian style pizza; loaded with shredded cheese, toppings and some type of marinara sauce that consisted of tomato puree from a can and powdered spices. To my delight Pizza in Italy was a tasting experience onto itself. You can get Napolenata style thin crust at a restaurant or a thicker Roman crust cut into squares for take away pizza. Both had sophisticated combinations of toppings and sauces that swept my taste buds off their feet. It was like love at first taste.
Especially the Napolenata style pizza appealled to yet another love of mine. The Love of fire. No, I’m not a pyromaniac. Ever since I was a little girl, visiting my Great Grandmother in her village in the middle of the Northern Mountains in Portugal, I loved to help stoke the fire that she used to cook her meals or watch it’s hypnotic flames. I was always amazed how people still cooked with fire. I still try to practice these skills when I can today. Napolenate style pizza is typically cooked in a wood burning oven on a stone surface. This cooking process gives it its unique flavour.
I have recently decided to search for my life’s true loves. This blog will document my love for food, for pizza, for all things Italian and cooking with fire. I hope to search for the ultimate pizza dough and figure out how to build my own wood burning oven. I hope to experiment with toppings, sauces and flavour combinations. All those things that make you feel like you are living la Vitta Bella.