Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Favorite Pizza

I've had dozens of different kinds of pizza during my time in Italy. When I first arrived in 2000, the first pizza that I was addicted to was "spinaci e ricotta" (spinach and ricotta cheese). Eventually I started experimenting with different toppings and combinations. For a while I was partial to "proscuitto e funghi" (Italian ham and mushrooms) and then after that I discovered just plain old pizza con olivi (pizza with olives).

Then a few years ago while we were living in Germany and visiting Giampietro and Agnese, we took them out for dinner. They suggested going to a nearby restaurant called La Fenice, (Italian for "The Phoenix"). Normally when we go out to eat with them I've noticed that they usually each order a different pizza, eat half, then switch. However on this night they both ordered the same pizza. It looked liked nothing more than just cheese and cherry tomatoes so I paid it no mind but at one point Giampi told me about the pizza - it was called "Estate del Sud", which means "summer in the south". The south of Italy, particularly in the Naples area, is known for great pizza and great food in general featuring delicious produce and ingredients. So on the Estate del Sud pizza was just tomato sauce, mozzarella di buffala (mozzarella cheese made with the milk of a water buffalo which is only made in the south) and some kind of special cherry tomatos that are only grown in Sicily and only in the summer months so the only time you can get this pizza is when the tomatoes are in season in Sicily. The finishing touch is a bit of basilico (basil).

Anyway, Giampi had me try a bite and I can't even describe my reaction. I'd never tasted anything like it, the flavor was just indescribable. I've since ordered pizza with mozzarella di buffala and cherry tomatoes at other places but the taste doesn't even come close. I've not found any other pizza like the Estate del Sud at La Fenice. It is far and away the best pizza I've ever had in my life. Unfortunately summer is over now so we have to wait til next summer to enjoy it again.

Here's a couple pics of the Estate del Sud (click to enlarge):

No comments: