What is the Autism Friendly Coop in Monza ?

Via Marsala in Monza. In an area abandoned for twenty years where the former CGS once stood, rises a peculiar supermarket: the first in Italy catered for autistic people with their families. The Coop store was inaugurated on September 10 and represents a significant step towards inclusivity in large-scale distribution, as well as an important recovery and redevelopment project of an abandoned area between via Marsala and via Solferino. Leading the work team that transformed the area of 11,000 square metres is architect Giorgio Motta with TP4 studio in Cantù, who chose to install solar panels on the roof of the structure and an “abstract forest” on the main square, with inserts of greenery, wood and coloured glass.

How the Autism Friendly Coop in Monza works

An investment of about 25 million euros for a sales area of 2,500 metres, staff of 85 people, including 57 new professional profiles: these are the numbers of the project, which boasts 350 parking spaces: “Our goal was to to make shopping easy, not only by arranging goods, but by guiding their purchases,” said Andrea Colombo, General Manager of Operations. Inside the supermarket, in fact, there are specific paths for different types of shopping, from the Foodie section for the most demanding gourmands, to the Green section for those who have chosen to follow a sustainable lifestyle, and the Easy option for quick and easy shopping. Then there is the Wellness department for lovers of fitness and also the Pet-Friendly one for those who need to shop for their pets. And shopping lists will hardly be needed anymore: the Move It mechanical arms appear from the aisles offering customers the products needed to complete purchases.

What does an Autism Friendly supermarket signify

The real novelty of the initiative, however, is the ability to include and involve autistic people as well, so that everyone can shop with ease and ease. This was possible thanks to a collaboration with  Nico Acampora, creator of PizzAut, a pizzeria run by autistic youngsters gathered under the association umbrella founded by Nico and inaugurated thanks to the money raised through crowdfunding in Cassina de’ Pecchi, in the Milanese hinterland. The staff of the Coop shop was trained by psychologists and psychotherapists experts in autism, who offered the staff all the tools necessary to encourage communication with autistic customers and facilitate their stay in the store. There are therefore a series of visual, luminous and communicative devices inside the store, where the volume of the music and the intensity of the light have been specifically adjusted to make all customers feel comfortable. No acoustic signals will come from the cashier speakers, where autistic people have priority in the queue. Finally, the signage of the products was created following the criteria of Augmentative Alternative Communication, submitted and approved by experts on the subject and a autistic focus group.

Also contributing to the project is Neshat Asgari, founder of the Alla3 Onlus association–who designed the pictograms for the signage–and Italian singer Elio–father of an autistic boy–who hope to transform the new Coop into the supermarket with the highest turnover “so that it may become an example imitated by all the other supermarkets.” It’s therefore necessary to support the project, encourage spending habits that are more inclusive than ever and open to all: “There is nothing else besides this initiative: nothing worse than seeing what can be done and is not done, like a tree that is not watered and slowly dies.”

by Michela Becchi

Nino Negri winery

Nino Negri Winery

Founded in 1897, the Nino Negri Winery is a reference point for wine growing of Valtellina. In the heart of the small village of Chiuro, for over a century the winery has been producing elegant and refined wines, with attention to the uniqueness of the individual vineyards. Held within the walls of the ancient Quadrio Castle, the cellar offers visitors the opportunity to discover the fascinating aging rooms connected to each other by underground corridors that run under Chiuro. The historic vineyards of the property are organized on steep terraces, supported by dry stone walls, literally torn from the rock of the mountain. For wine tourists (with reservations) there’s the opportunity to enjoy different wine experiences: a “classic”, lasting 90 minutes, includes a visit to the cellar tasting 4 wines; the “special” (2 hours) enriched with a journey through the ancient walls and a tasting from the barrels to discover the mountain Nebbiolo; the “exclusive” (4 hours) takes visitors to the Ca’ Guicciardi farmhouse and to the vineyards for a spectacular tasting among dry stone walls protected by Unesco, a symbol of heroic viticulture.

Nino Negri

Via Ghibellini, 3 |  Chiuro  | Sondrio

tel. 0342.485211 | [email protected]

Visits upon reservation Monday to Saturday

Cru: Sforzato 5 stelle

The Nebbiolo grape, locally called Chiavennasca, has been the undisputed protagonist of local production for over a thousand years. The grapes for Sforzato are harvested manually in crates and naturally dry out thanks to the action of the winds. 5 Stelle Sfursat is a full-bodied, soft and deep wine. It has medium intensity ruby colour, hints of violet, ripe red berry fruit and slight hints of sweet spices. It can age up to 25 years.

Blue Hill

Dan Barber and the story of Blue Hill

Residences for chefs just like the most popular residences for artists. A space, that is, where guest chefs can benefit from the hospitality, the kitchen space and the brigade made available to them to express their creativity. To the advantage of customers who will always experiment with different ideas at the table, informed in advance about the rotation that will see chefs from all over the world alternating at the helm. The operation would not even be unprecedented, were it not for the fact that the chef-in-residence plan will take shape, starting from the beginning of 2021, in two of the most popular restaurants in the United States, both linked to the figure of Dan Barber. The veteran haute cuisine chef that’s increasingly interested in playing a reference point role to enhance agricultural work and free and sustainable agriculture has built his career in the dining world around two complementary poles, centered precisely on that very farm-to-table cuisine that has become a fashion today, but in which Barber was a pioneer. This is demonstrated by the work started in 2004 at the Blue Hill at Stone Barns estate, in the countryside of Pocantico Hills; echoed by the chef’s city table in New York’s Greenwich Village with Blue Hill. It was only a year ago, with the inclusion of a new Hudson Valley area in the Michelin guide dedicated to New York, the restaurant in Pocantico Hills had made its debut in the Michelin Guide immediately winning two stars (one, however, has been illuminating the New York venue for several years). Now, however, the scene changes.

2021 in Pocantico Hills. 4 chefs for the “new” restaurant

For some time, the American chef had been developing the idea of moving away from the kitchen, and his letter recently sent to the staff clarifies the terms of what is a (temporary?) retreat shared with the partners and in any case aimed at safeguarding the philosophy that guided the two restaurants thus far. While it’s not yet clear what will happen in Greenwich Village, for the countryside restaurant Barber has already announced the intention of starting a residency plan that will run throughout 2021 (at the moment the restaurant is closed, but offers a picnic service on site and box of takeout products), with the alternating of four chefs – one per season – who will be free to interpret the Hudson Valley products in their own way, with the support of the team that already operates on the estate. The venue will take the name of the guest chef from time to time, without prejudice to the “location” at Stone Barns (while the nickname Blue Hill will come off the sign).

A commitment towards equality and freedom of expression

But there is more: if the challenge for the property will be an opportunity to renew the New York gastronomic scene with the graft of new gastronomic cultures, for the selected candidates the residency could prove to be a great help in a difficult moment. The idea is in fact to select chefs who have lost their restaurants or have found themselves in economic difficulty because of the pandemic, without limits of origin. The only requirement for the candidate chefs is to have a serious interest in agriculture. The chefs involved will receive compensation and free hospitality at the Pocantico Hills estate. The name of the first choice should be announced in early autumn, along with some more clarifications on the direction of the work that will start in January. 2021 will thus flow with the intention of realizing the commitment in the fight against social and gender inequality in the dining industry. For the future, however, plans are not yet defined, but Barber isn’t ruling out that Blue Hill can start again as we have known it so far.

by Livia Montagnoli

beef aspic

History of food gelatin

Originally cooks used a broth of bones that was concentrated and cooled, resulting in a thick gelatinous mass and used in the Middle East as glue for skins. Today, food gelatin – also called isinglass – comes in the form of dried sheets that need to be soaked in water and added to sweet or savoury preparations to create puddings, spoon desserts and give consistency to foods. But before arriving at the current commercial version, there were several culinary experiments and not just to obtain thickeners. In ancient Egypt, for example, a sort of jelly obtained from cooking meat was used to make ornamental tomb paintings; while starting from the second century AD it also starts being used in the kitchen, where it is initially considered a luxury item, and is in fact omnipresent in the Renaissance recipe books of the aristocrat classes.

How food gelatin is made

Over time food gelatin became a product within everyone’s reach, so much so as to represent one of the main stocks during the Napoleonic wars of the 19th century and during the Algerian war of 1830, because of its protein-rich nature. To obtain it, in fact, animal collagen is needed, in particular connective tissue and the bones of pigs, cattle and, in the past, also fish. The name isinglass derives from an ancient procedure originating in Russia, where the gelatin was produced starting from the swim bladder of the sturgeon (fish famous for its eggs, which give life to the famous caviar), which is dried, but it is a practice that is no longer in use. The gelatins on the market today are mainly produced from pork rind, together with bones and cartilage, including from cattle. The sheets are transparent, odourless and tasteless: their only valuable function is to thicken.


Aspic, symbol of the Eighties

Among the most famous gelatin-based preparations, aspic stands out, a term that indicates a cold dish consisting of meat, fish or vegetables enclosed in a gelatin casing, and which in French means “asp” (the name is probably linked to shape of the molds of the past, reminiscent of a coiled snake) The official inventor of the recipe is Napoleon’s chef, Marie-Antoine Carême, who listed it among the chaud-froids (literally “hot-cold”), preparations cooked hot but served cold. Spectacular and eye-catching, aspic was also one of the cult dishes of the 80s and early 90s, even in the sweet fruit variant. Preparing it is simple, you just need a little patience and wait for the gelatin to set: the strong point of the dish is the transparency that allows you to see the ingredients in it and thus allowing to create colourful and original effects.

canned meat

Canned meat with gelatin

Another key product that uses gelatin is canned meat. The first experiments date back to the early 19th century, following the studies of Nicolas Appert, inventor of sterilization in canning and vacuum packing, but it was only in 1876 that the trade in canned meat began in Argentina thanks to the invention of the can opener. In Italy it was Colonel Don Ettore Chiarizia who patented it in 1929 for the army, even though before him Giuseppe Lancia had already made special packages for the Piedmontese troops during the Crimean War. The symbolic brand of meat in gelatin is Simmenthal, founded in 1881 by the restaurateur Pietro Sada, followed by his son Gino Alfonso who at the beginning of the 20th century started industrial production.

strawberry jelly

Jelly, English food gelatin

Gelatin is also widely used in the United Kingdom, where it is known by the name of jelly, not to be confused with the same American term, which in the United States indicates fruit jam. The strawberry coloured one is the typical snack of English children: generally you buy a commercial version, a block of concentrated gelatin to be diluted with hot water and eaten with a ùspoon along with a cup of tea, but you can also make it at home from scratch, starting with fruit, water, sugar and gelatin. The jelly is also the base for many typical sweets, such as trifle, dessert with a Baroque appearance traditionally composed of several layers of sponge cake soaked in Sherry or other fortified wines, custard, whipped cream and fruit (according to many, it was the inspiration for the Italian “zuppa inglese”), but which today is more commonly made with strawberry jelly placed between one layer and another of sponge and cream. Then there is jelly in jaffa cakes, soft cakes filled with orange jelly and covered with chocolate, now also available in many commercial variants.

agar agar

Vegetable options, ranging from agar agar to pectin

For those who follow a vegetarian or vegan regimen, there is no shortage of thickening alternatives without animal products. For example, agar agar, a product with a high mucilage and carrageenan content is a gelatinous substance, obtained from red algae and rich in minerals. It is sold in bars, flakes or powder, and to use it,  just dilute about 5 grams in 1 liter of water. It takes about an hour to set at room temperature and, just like isinglass, it is odourless and tasteless. Then there is xanthan gum, obtained from the fermentation of a carbohydrate and present in the form of a powder, that’s dissolved in water and used as an additive and thickener. Furthermore, guar gum, obtained from the seeds of the leguminous plant by the same name typical of India and Pakistan; and pectin, a compound extracted from fruit and used mainly in the preparation of jams and marmalades.

Wild strawberry aspic recipe

350 g wild strawberries

100 g sugar

150 g Port

350 g water

6 g isinglass in sheets

1 vanilla pod

Lemon rind

Prep time: 10 minutes + 6 hours of cooling. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Put the sugar in a saucepan with 300 g of water, two lemon rind petals and the vanilla pod divided in two lengthwise. Boil for a few minutes then remove the syrup from the heat, add the well-wrung out gelatin and stir until completely dissolved and well distributed. Let it cool then strain the syrup and add the Port. Fill 4 small moulds with the strawberries and pour in the cold but still liquid gelatin. Let it harden in the refrigerator (absolutely not in the freezer) for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, dip the molds for a moment in boiling water, dry them and turn them on the plates. You can complete the dessert with a scoop of strawberry gelato.

by Michela Becchi

Pinchiorri wines

The wines of the Enoteca Pinchiorri to be auctioned

The reference date is September 12, when 2,500 bottles from one of the most famous wine cellars in Italy will be auctioned by Zachys. A first for the most important American auction house specializing in wine, which on this special occasion will debut with a sale in Europe. After all, the occasion is such as to arouse the interest of an audience of collectors and wine enthusiasts who certainly will flood with offers. The wines in question, in fact, are the ones from which Giorgio Pinchiorri, owner of the Florentine Enoteca, chose to give up after a painful, but reasoned decision, for a discussion of image, and not for issues related to alleged difficulties caused by the emergency health at the well-known restaurant run together with Annie Feolde, which houses a cellar of over 60,000 fine labels, collected in over fifty years. In fact, Pinchiorri himself took it upn himself to deny the budget difficulties caused by Covid, emphasizing how the contact with the auction house precedes the explosion of the pandemic. A different situation, therefore, compared to the auction dedicated a few weeks ago to most of the wines stored in the cellar of the Del Posto restaurant in New York, beaten by the will of Joe Bastianich, struggling with the problems caused to his dining group by the lockdown and restrictions still in force in the United States. The catalogue of the auction, which will be held in London in a single day, has 864 lots – for a total of 2,500 bottles – and has a total base value of 2 million euros.

The history of Pinchiorri. Cellar and restaurant

The announcement is accompanied by the words of Giorgio Pinchiorri, who introduces the catalog, underlining the emotional value of this separation: “Before putting my bottles in Zachys’ crates and seeing them come out of my cellar, I kissed them one by one and cried, both with my eyes and with my heart,” said the founder of what, in 1972, began as Enoteca Nazionale, a wine shop and tasting room selling Tuscan cheeses and charcuterie. The restaurant – the history of which we recently retraced in a report dedicated to Annie Feolde and the brigade of Enoteca Pinchiorri, in the Gambero Rosso monthly issue – was born in 1979, with the arrival of the French cook. And in the Eighties, in conjunction with the consolidation of the gourmet approach that brought home the first important awards, including a Wine Spectator award for the cellar (1984).

The auction of the legendary cellar

Among the most valuable lots protagonists of the auction, are two magnums of Vosne-Romanée Cros-Parantoux Reserve Henri Jayer 1999 (starting price £60,000 – £100,000) and two bottles of Romanée-Conti Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1990 (£24,000 – £32,000), an expression of the excellence of Burgundy viticulture. From Bordeaux, on the other hand, six bottles of Pétrus 1961 (£30,000 – £44,000) and nine of Mouton Rothschild 2000 (£10,000 – £15,000), without forgetting the Champagne region, with two magnums of Krug Clos du Mesnil 1996 (£6,500 – £10,000). As far as Italy, wines range from Barolo Monfortino Riserva Giacomo Conterno 1978 (£2,600 – £3,800) to Super Tuscans. But there are also numerous rare bottles for connoisseurs, in a collection that combines large wineries with small independent producers, personally visited by Pinchiorri himself over time, from big names to lesser known, but specia, winemakers.

The complete auction catalogue

refettorio Lima

From Mexico to Peru

We left off in Merida, in the Mexican city of Yucatan, at the beginning of March, while the international community was beginning to discover the gravity of the pandemic that in a few days would have paralysed half the world. At Casa Santa Luisa, with the support of the Fundacion Palace, everything was ready to inaugurate the first Mexican Refettorio of the Food for Soul circuit, conceived by Massimo Bottura. The health emergency, however, forced to postpone the opening of the structure to the public, which on the other hand immediately took action to support the work of other humanitarian associations working in the area with its own kitchens, in an even more delicate moment for those who cannot provide for themselves. Thus was born a distribution and home delivery service that continues today, waiting to open the doors of the beautiful farmhouse, renovated with the help of many local artists, according to the philosophy of good and beautiful of Food for Soul. Meanwhile, the non-profit organization led by the chef from Modena with his wife Lara Gilmore has not stopped.

The Refettorio in Lima with Casa de Todos

And in September, a new Refettorio will make its debut in Lima. In the capital of Peru, the Intermediary refectory will be temporarily housed – waiting to find a permanent space, in Palomino – inside the historic Acho arena, dating back to 1762, where in conjunction with the explosion of the pandemic, since last spring, volunteers of the Beneficencia de Lima association have created a meeting and support point for the homeless in the city, renamed Casa de Todos, with the support of the municipal administration. As part of the operation, a “field kitchen” was also created, supervised by chef Diego Munoz (right-hand man of Gaston Acurio), who in recent months has involved local chefs, restaurateurs and producers to support the initiative. That’s how the interest of Massimo Bottura was born, who chose to support the project with Food for Soul, destined to become a real refectory, based on the recovery of waste and quality food.

The Lima branch will therefore be the second refectory opened in South America, after the structure founded with Gastromotiva in one of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, on the occasion of the 2016 Olympic Games. “Opening a Refettorio in this precise historical moment does not only respond to our mission, but it is a moral duty. Among other things, Lima is an emblematic city for the history of gastronomy: with local volunteer associations we will create a peaceful, happy and creative place,” explained Bottura on the new project. And the logo of the Peruvian Refettorio is also a tribute to the city of Lima, of which it takes up the symbolic flower, the Amancaes, particularly resistant and able to adapt to difficulties. When in business, the Refettorio will be serving a three-course meal prepared every day by professional chefs, welcoming people in financial difficulty, homeless and anyone in need of help. The project also plans to plant an edible garden, with fruit and vegetables, and to found a training centre for professional kitchen training (on the outskirts of Lima, a similar project was started just over a year ago by Gaston Acurio, within the Fundacion Pachacutec). And as usual, a large group of artists and designers also participate in the design of the spaces: visual designer Patricia Exebio, curator Jorge Villacorta, and architects Caio Roma and Rossina Tarragona, successfully active figures on Lima’s cultural scene. On the Food for Soul website donations in support of the project are still open.

Lula Farms basil

Lula Farms and the world’s largest greenhouse in Montreal

Since 2011, it has grown more than 100 varieties of vegetables and other produce; today Lula Farms is the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world, created on a warehouse building in Montreal where it extends for 15,000 square metres with the aim of enhancing biodiversity and promote sustainable agriculture. “We want to reinvent the food system,” said the creators of the project, who have already built 4 greenhouses of this type in the city, also serving as models for other American companies, which over the years have been inspired by the urban rooftop agriculture system, thuis creating similar constructions on other buildings in Denver, Chicago and New York City.

How the Lula Farms greenhouse in Montreal works

In the greenhouse there are fruits and vegetables grown with hydroponics, in environments lined with coconut fiber, and all the plants are nourished with liquid substances of various kinds. Insects take care of pollination: bumblebees, wasps, ladybugs which also help to counteract the presence of any aphids, thus avoiding the use of pesticides or other chemical elements, which are not allowed here. High attention is also paid to green energy and the recovery of used materials: there are in fact double solar panels and two sets of energy-saving screens. The closed-circuit irrigation system uses rainwater captured from the greenhouse and all waste is reduced to compost and then reused in the production cycle.

The Lula Farms production

And if the quality is very high, the same can be said for the quantity: every week, in fact, enough vegetables are produced to feed 10,000 families. Plus there is an efficient sorting service that delivers the products to the various city businesses, from stores to shops, without forgetting restaurants. The target is increasing production even more until it no longer satisfies 1% of the city but 2%. An ambitious project that represents “an incredible step towards local and sustainable urban agriculture,” according to Mohamed Hafe, co-founder and CEO of Lula Farms last year during the official presentation of the company.

The effects of the rooftop greenhouse in Montreal

In addition to producing many types of vegetables – about 12,000 kilos of tomatoes and aubergines per week – the rooftop greenhouse is also a useful system to “fight against the heat islands of our district,” explained Mayor of Saint-Laurent (major district of the city) Alan DeSousa. We call “heat islands” areas where warmer microclimates are created within city areas than in peripheral or rural areas, due to intense urbanization. But that’s not all: the company represents one of the country’s steps towards sustainability “and the most advanced green technologies,” which are among the main objectives of Saint-Laurent.

by Michela Becchi

burger and fries

…last meals, photos of the last meals on death row

The dead men walking, in this case, are twenty-three. The expression used on death row to announce inmates walking towards the place of execution in American prisons, made famous all over the world by the homonymous film of ’95 directed by Tim Robbins, is now remembered in an unusual manner by American artist Jacquelyn C. Black. With a book of photographs, now on display at the Parrish Art Museum in New York, entitled “… last meals” which collects all the last meals requested by inmates before their death sentence.

…last meals: the book and the author

The book, published by Common Courage Press––in addition to images––reports the inmates’ last statements, their date of execution and their use. Former musicians, workers, carpenters and even a cook, Robert Anthony Madden, killed on May 28, 1997, requested that his last supper be given to a homeless man. In his statement, he apologizes for the pain and loss, but continues to redeem his innocence: “I hope we will all learn something about ourselves and others. And we will learn to stop the cycle of hatred and revenge and to evaluate what is really happening in this world.” Then the last sentence, the most heartbreaking, “Forgiveness for all for this process, which seems to be wrong.”

The exhibition in New York

Fragments of this and other stories are now on exhibit in New York until January 31, 2021, and then preserved in a book, born from a simple and yet very complex question posed by the author: “What must it be like requesting your last meal before being executed for a crime you may not have committed?” We should really imagine ourselves in front of that plate, physically in front of that last bite, “maybe in that way we can truly perceive the experience.” Or maybe it’s time to question ourselves, to question “our complicity in the judicial system.”

The last meals

Black’s images even pull a melancholy smile: childish, simple, banal meals, junk food of the worst kind. After all, it’s not surprising if at the point of death one is assailed by the desire to return to one’s origins, to dinners with family, with friends, the candies of the past, the fries, the pampering to indulge in from time to time. much. What stands out is James Russell’s choice, a musician who requested a simple red apple to say goodbye to life. Thomas Andy Barefoot’s, on the other hand, at first sight seems to be a Mexican dish: rice, corn salad, beans in spicy sauce, vegetables. He worked in an oil field and his last words, before being executed on October 30, 1984, were harsh, sharp, but even in his case there was no lack of forgiveness: “I hope that one day we’ll look back on all evil. we are doing now, just like when we burned witches on the stake. I want everyone to know that I have nothing against them. I forgive them all. I hope that everyone I have done harm to will forgive me.”

by Michela Becchi

photo credits: BBC News


The new Boulevard Market in London

There will also be the famous St John Bakery doughnuts in the new Islington Square market, a small gastronomic hub that will open its doors on September 4th, naturally with all the necessary safety precautions. True, the current historical moment is very complex and difficult for dining businesses, but it’s time to move on, working well and with due care. It will be called Boulevard Market and it will occupy the space of a former office building in the sparkling borough in north-central London, famous for its beautiful houses, but also for the many pubs and nightclubs of neighbouring Angel district. And which is now preparing to welcome many tasty brands, for a varied offer that’s suitable for everyone.

The food stalls at Boulevard Market in London

There will therefore be specialties of the most famous bakery in London, starting with doughnuts, leavened to perfection, well fried and filled with exquisite creams, without forgetting the famous Eccles cakes, round pies of buttery puff pastry stuffed with currant jam and covered with sugar, small delicacies to indulge in when you are looking for a comfortable cuddle. But there will also be vegetable products at Turnips, a vegan space from Borough Market, cheeses from The Borough Cheese Company, and fresh pasta from La Tua Pasta. Furthermore, the fermented foods of Kim n’ Chi, the extra virgin olive oil of Woop, a company that offers consulting services to the realities of the agri-food world and specialises in quality olive oil, the Korean recipes of Bombon, the Sicilian sweets of Casa Cannoli, London Grade Coffee, Mix&Muddle cocktails, the steaks at Beefsteaks and Noodo‘s gluten free baked goods.

How to reach Boulevard Market

The market will initially be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, at least until October 18th. It was designed in collaboration with Real Food Markets, a company committed to promoting and enhancing ethical and sustainable producers. The large open space is located where the sorting and delivery centre of the Royal Mail North London once stood, and which is now accessed through a controlled entrance – to ensure correct safety precautions and social distancing – through Upper Street. In anticipation of next summer, when hopefully everything will finally return to normal, including a series of events organised on the terrace, from yoga classes to puppet shows for children.

by Michela Becchi


The winning connection between the hinterland and the waters of the Ionian Sea has allowed Catania to flourish into gastronomic traditions rich in cultural influences, despite the simplicity of a cuisine that knows how to exalt itself with the use of poor ingredients: fried or grilled blue fish for pasta courses, grilled horse meat, arancini and cartocciate. And there is no shortage of fine pizza: here’s where to find the best with outdoor seating.

Pizzerias with outdoor seating in Catania

Locanda Cerami

Soft and tasty, the Locanda’s dough is increasingly a guarantee: characteristic combination of “00” flour and soy flour, extra virgin olive oil and brewer’s yeast, or for the wholemeal variant made with a mix of ancient Sicilian grains, guaranteed ease of digestibility. After resting for at least 24 hours, the base goes into the oven (at 300°C) for a maximum of three minutes and arrives at the table topped with balanced condiments. Like the “Gusto Inferno” (a Margherita with Calabrian ‘nduja sausage, bottarga, caramelized Tropea red onions and saffron-scented pecorino) or the “Borgia” with tomato, mozzarella, oil packed tuna, olives and onion.

Locanda Cerami – via Crociferi, 69 –

Corte dei Medici

Experimentation, continuous search for non-obvious combinations and great technique: the base is well digestible, thanks to the 72-hour leavening of the dough composed of white flour, wholemeal semolina stone double-milled and tumminia flour. Slow cooking in the wood oven does the rest, defining the crispness and thick crust. Try the original “Celso” with creamed and whole artichoke hearts, Ragusa provola cheese and licorice flakes; or the “Apollonio” topped with smoked salmon, mint, buffalo mozzarella, stracchino and mesclun salad.

Corte dei Medici – via Umberto I, 105 –


A light and well baked pizza, leavened for a long time from 24 to 48 hours, available in four different crusts: basic with stone-ground organic flour and liquid sourdough yeast; the five cereals; tumminia and evolutionary, made with a large mix of soft island wheats. Don’t miss the “Cuti Crunch”, a very light crispy focaccia seasoned raw, and also the “Li Cuti” pie topped with marinated salmon, buffalo milk stracciatella, mesclun, lemon zest and basil oil. The desserts are also excellent.

Cutilisci – via San Giovanni Li Cuti, 69 –


New York atmosphere, Neapolitan-style pizza dough with thick crust and just right softness. The irony and ingredients of the menu are however Sicilian through and through. At Fud, a well-known address of the island’s street food and a guarantee of selected, tasty and tantalizing ingredients, and great pies to boot topped with unusual flavors. Think “Marinara” which here becomes even more vigorous, thanks to the Nubia red garlic and Sicilian dried oregano, which can turn into “Campagnola” with the addition of mozzarella, black olives, Nebrodi Black pork sausage and sauteed vegetables.

Fud – via Santa Filomena, 35 –

Squib Pizza & More

Squib was the gamble of four partners, Alfio Giarlotta, Paolo Pelligra, Mario Catania and Orazio Anfuso, none in the restaurant business until now. The restaurant is decorated as contemporary, well-kept and with an attractive design. The pies are Neapolitan in style, soft and with a thick crust, with 48 hours of leavening and the use of sourdough starter, but there’s also Roman style pinsa and a version baked in a small pan. The fried “montanara” is also worth a taste. Friendly and attentive service.

Squib Pizza&More – Largo Paisiello, 9/12 –

Al Vicolo Pizza & Vino

Curious food hub that brings together a deli, a wine shop and even a pizzeria, which offers pies baked in a wood-stoked oven, extra-large sizes (40 cm diameters) with classic crust that il left to proof for at least 48 hours. Crusts can be made with hemp or tumminia flour; you can also ask for the stuffed rim with grape tomato, cream cheese and pistachio. On the menu there are about 70 pizzas divided between tomato-based or plain, but also calzones and baguettes and “pizza-salads” composed upon request, without forgetting the fried pizzas. Other branches in Nicolosi.

Al Vicolo Pizza&Vino – via del Colosseo, 5/7 –

by Michela Becchi

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