One of the world’s top pizzaioli is visiting Edinburgh to give a masterclass on how to make the perfect pizza to a lucky invited audience of Italian food lovers and restaurateurs.
Giuseppe Pignalosa is flying in from the home of pizza, Naples, to take part in a demonstration which forms a key feature of Scotland’s commitment to Italian Cuisine Week.
The programme includes a conference on the Mediterranenan diet, a showcase of the food and wine from one of Italy’s best-rated, yet largely unknown, regions and a celebratory dinner hosted by a Michelin-starred chef.
The pizzaiolo (Italian for a professional pizza maker who makes pizzas in the traditional Neapolitan style), who has collaborated with a host of Michelin-starred cooks, is famed for using techniques passed down by his father and grandfather but adding to them innovative and experimental twists.
A member of the Slowfood Chef’s Alliance, Giuseppe’s pizzas are made only using local and seasonal products from his region – and a selection of these will be served up to guests at Pizzeria 1926 in Edinburgh’s Dalry Road on Monday evening (November 19).
Giuseppe, who runs two restaurants in the Naples area, said: “My father opened the first family pizzeria in 1970. I was a daddy’s boy until he decided to send me to Milan aged 15 to gain experience in a pizzeria – from there my life was linked to pizza.
“My real breakthrough came in 2013 when I started to understand that the area around our restaurants, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius outside Naples, is a treasure trove of food excellence which perfectly matches our pizzas.”
Rosario Sartore, owner of Pizzeria 1926 whose chefs also come from Naples, said: “I am happy to be part of this event because I believe that it’s so important for people to experience what true pizza is, which is a million miles from what gets served by places that call themselves pizzeries.
“That can only happen if it is made by people who come from Naples and who have lived all their life around pizza. We need to promote and protect the authentic Neapolitan tradition, and show people the difference between the real Neapolitan pizza and its imitation.
“We are already bringing a truly authentic taste of Neapolitan pizza to Edinburgh and the visit by Giuseppe can help to really showcase just how amazing a dish pizza can be.”
Italian Cuisine Week, now in its third year, is an initiative started by the Italian government to promote the country’s high-quality cuisine around the world, with the aim of boosting food and wine tourism, particularly to regions little-known outside Italy.
To mark the event, the Italian Consulate General, Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh and the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK have organised a series of events themed around promoting the Mediterranean Diet.
The opening event – at the Institut Français d’Ecosse in West Parliament Square on Monday, November 19 – features a conference which aims to give an insight into different aspects of the Mediterranenan Diet. Valerio Calabrese, director of the Museo Vivente della Dieta Mediterranea di Pioppi in Pollica, Salerno, will open the doors of his museum and guide the audience into a discovery of rooms, tastes and smells. He will tell how the Museum promotes a life style inspired by healthy nutrition, respect for the environment and local traditions and culture. Nutritionist Francesca Marino, who launched My Social Recipe®, in video conference from Naples, will discuss Mediterranean Diet and its ingredients, giving an insight into all the health benefits. The event will also feature a presentation by architect Francesca Pastore that shows how the Mediterranean Diet has impacted on landscapes and construction.
The Principal Hotel in Edinburgh’s George Street is to showcase the food, wine and olive oil from the Castel del Monte area of Puglia, including the chance to sample delicacies from Michelin-star chef Felice Sgarra from the region’s Umami Restaurant, on Tuesday, November 20.
Chef Sgarra is also to host an authentic Andriese dinner, prepared with the best and freshest products, together with DOP extra virgin olive oils and DOC wines from the Castel del Monte area at Glasgow’s Eusebi Deli on Wednesday, November 21.
The chef said he has three main thoughts when he starts to prepare a meal or new recipe: the quality and freshness of the product; and the knowledge of those who produce it, not least when it comes to his favourite ingredient, extra virgin olive oil.
He said: “It brings me back to my grandparents and father, who were farmers. It reminds me of when I was a child. So the talk in the kitchen is always to find those feelings in the dish.”
For more details on all the events: https://iicedimburgo.esteri.it/iic_edimburgo/en/gli_eventi