A sun-kissed evening at Dievole was recently host to a spectacular – and very social – evening that celebrated excellencies in Italian food down the boot. The occasion was the presentation of the book “La Buona Pizza” of which Dievole is one of the sponsors, but the evening was much more than that.
The appointment was for 5:30pm in the resort’s medieval borgo, where the 19th-century pizza oven had been fired up early in the morning by Davide Fiorentini and Matteo Tambini of O Fiore Mio gourmet pizzeria in Faenza. Although the invitees – members of the press, bloggers and some lucky Dievole guests – may well have liked to start sampling their pizza, first we sat down to hear more about the book in an interesting debate led by journalist Andrea Cappelli.
La Buona Pizza is a culinary excursion in Italy by food writers Tania Mauri and Luciana Squadrilli, accompanied by the beautiful photographs of Alessandra Farinelli. Both text and image capture the spirit of 10 pizzaioli in Italy and their recipes. What the authors found is that these chefs of the traditionally “basic” meal of pizza worked hard to invent new recipes and to gather the best ingredients, creating a network of producers whose excellencies can be discovered by eating these gourmet pizzas.
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At table, we met some of these producers – Dievole the first among them. Marco Scanu, who heads up the extra virgin olive oil project at Dievole, and Giovanni Alberio, the on-site enologist in charge of Dievole’s wine, spoke about the respect for territory and for the natural ingredients of wine and oil that goes into every bottle here at Dievole.
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It was a real pleasure to also host the producers of some of the amazing ingredients that Davide and Matteo use on their pizzas – which, yes, we did finally get to eat! The super flavourful mozzarella from Il Casolare of Mimmo La Vecchia who came all the way from Caserta, specialty preserves from Lazio and Naples areas by I Sapori di Corbara and L’Orto di Lucullo and even craft beer by Lazese based Birra del Borgo. After a “light aperitivo” of pizza made with mother yeasts and ancient grains, the public rested a bit while watching the sun set behind olive groves before sitting down to a long table in the garden at Dievole for a multi-course tasting menu by chef Monika Filipinska. Tartare, pepper risotto with goat’s cheese gelato, and rabbit followed, as well as a light dessert.
We were very proud to be a central part of this convivial evening, during which conversation generally revolved around food, exchange, networks and quality. The authors of the book have described a tradition – not a trend – in Italy of people who value the gifts of mother earth and are proud to share them with anyone who wishes to eat and drink only the best. Who could want anything more?