Real pizza is from Naples, half way down the boot. But if you find yourself in the top part of Italy, you don’t need to despair. You can visit my friend Alan and feel safe in his hands. In fact, using his hands and an oven, Alan can basically cook pretty much anything!
Giancarlo & Mariella, my mom’s best friends, were adamant about bringing me to their favorite local spot: La Bergamasca. Alan, the owner, walks us inside the restaurant when its doors are still closed to the public. He looks immaculate in his pizzaiolo uniform and he is enthusiast to show us all of his edible tricks and accomplishments that he has achieved over the years. We are enthusiastic about trying them all!
Alan was trained by the top pizza chefs and he loves being over the top in general. He was trained over 40 years ago by chef Sosio e Mario Donzelli from the Vecchia Scuola Neapolitan pizza school. According to Alan, the original pizza place he worked for was the first pizza place in Northern Italy to make the dish popular. Also according to Alan, his own pizza place was the first pizza place on the Internet in Italy. A lot of firsts! But what I think really makes this man special is the fact that his pizza is, as he says, open source. On his website you can read the complete list of ingredients that you will find in his pizza. From flour to tomatoes, everything is local or at least Italian. Isn’t that awesome? I wish that every restaurant we went to had the same rules of transparency!
There is so much pride in the natural quality of his product that it’s inspiring to say the least. Alan is also part of a the Figli di Pasta Madre, an association that advocates the need to preserve the natural and correct way of levitating the dough by professionals in Italy and around the world. As Alan said about quality of food in general, “It’s not only how good it tastes when you eat it, but it’s even more important to check in with yourself afterwards and see how you feel after eating that food. That’s what matters, how food makes you feel.” I approve!
Even though we stopped by in full summer months, Alan still proudly showed us and had us try his famous panettone, usually a Christmas bread. I usually don’t go crazy over this traditional sweet but I must say this was one of the best ones I have ever tried. We arrived just in time when he was baking his delicious grissini, typical breadsticks made with Alan’s all-natural oven-baked recipe. Olivia, Car to Farm’s on the road videographer was delighted to have her first lactose-free pizza ever. It turned out to be one of the best she’s ever tried! My mom’s friends Giancarlo & Mariella along with their son Gianmarco and grandson and granddaughter Cecilia and Riccardo enjoyed their traditional meal at the place.
When it comes to pizza I keep a Top 10 list and I safely put in that list the places that I consider above the media and near the top. Obviously La Bergamasca made the list!
Photo Credit: Mauro Clerici