Last Thursday 16th November 2017, the restaurants Fiorellino and Stella hosted a Puglia Pizza evening, showcasing the most authentic flavours typifying the art of living of this southern Italian region.
Pasquale Vari, lecturer at ITHQ (Quebec Tourism and Hotel Management College) and judge on the popular programme Les Chefs!, put together a menu for the occasion, which was both inspired and inspiring, honouring the wealth of possible pizza-wine combinations from this region in south-east Italy.
The pizzas celebrated classic Puglia ingredients: extra virgin olive oil of course, sauces made with the tomatoes traditionally grown in this region with its Mediterranean climate, and its sublime cheeses, such as Burrata (a fresh cheese with a creamy inside), Fior di latte (literally ‘flower of milk’, meaning the best part of the milk) and Stracciatella, a cow’s milk cheese made in Bari province.
Three authentic wines
The wines offered on this occasion included Torcicoda, a dry red produced by Tormaresca, with Salento IGT (Typical Geographic Indication) designation, whose garnet colour and flavours are reminiscent of liquorice and stewed fruit. Calafuria, another Tormaresca wine, is an expressive rosé made from negroamaro grapes. And we should also mention the Puglia Chardonnay, an agreeably fresh wine with hints of peach, citrus and banana, a supple texture and a long finish.
Pizza: an authentic tradition
Pizza is probably the most eaten dish in the world. Now, Italians know that pizza is authentic only if it is made from Italian products and has a seal of quality from being made from recipes passed down the generations. To taste the difference (especially when straight out of the oven), flour, yeast, cheese, tomatoes and olive oil form the basis for any good Italian pizza following this long tradition of quality.
Moreover, this has led to a movement in Italy to have pizza protected by UNESCO so that only ingredients with a designation of origin can be used for a “real” Italian pizza. The good news is that these products are all available in Quebec, both in specialist shops and large supermarkets. We need to be attentive and informed or look for labels with the “DOP” (Protected Designation of Origin) or “IGP” (Protected Geographical Indication) mark. Eight million pizzas are eaten each day in Italy alone!
Puglia at a glance
Puglia region, the “heel” of the Italian “boot”, has four million inhabitants. It includes the city of Bari and Barletta-Andria-Trani, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto provinces. It has a typically Mediterranean climate, with a hot, dry summer and mild, rainy winter. Puglia is the Italian region with the longest coastline. It is also the most eastern, with its easternmost tip just 80 kilometres from Albania.
About the Puglia Pizza evening
The Puglia Pizza evening was organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada, as part of its promotional campaign The difference is in the taste, which seeks to educate consumers and help them to appreciate Italy's authentic products. Several varieties of wine from the Puglia region and pizzas, all made from ingredients from the region, were served on the evening of 16 November at two Montreal restaurants: Fiorellino in the International District and Stella in Plateau-Mont-Royal.