It was only a matter of time. Sooner or later, our column was bound to delve into one of the biggest gastronomical traditions of all times: the story of Pizza. This delicious flatbread topped with various ingredients - the most recurring are mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, basil leaves and olive oil, but there are so many variables with other products – became globally popular after World War Two but it actually holds a much longer tradition.
Being an evolution of older recipes, the modern version of Pizza finds its roots in Naples, the hilly and crowded city on the South-Western coast of Italy, during the 18th or early 19th century. A simple and easy-to-make dish, from the start it fit wonderfully with the lively and unpretentious character of the Neapolitan people; and, for sure, many will remember Sophia Loren on the screen in the role of a 20-year-old pizza purveyor pretending to have lost her emerald ring in the pizza dough while her husband is questioning all her customers in a sequence of hilarious scenes (“The Gold of Naples” by Vittorio De Sica, 1954). Indeed, pizza was sold from outdoor stands and out of pizza bakeries and pizzerias in Naples still keep this tradition alive today.
But where does the word pizza come really from? The origin is uncertain. It first appeared in a Latin text from the southern Italy town of Gaeta in 997 AD. Most scholars believe there is a connection with the Ancient Greek word Greek word pikte, meaning "fermented pastry", which in Latin became pitta, and the Greek pita bread would share the same linguistic root.
An Italian red that can pair wonderfully with pizza is Monreale DOC Rosso Pietragavina by Tamburello, a Sicilian estate. It is a wine that holds a very peculiar scent: aromas of almost-withered flowers, well-ripened cherries, blackcurrant jam and plums; not to mention some hot eastern spices and aromatic herbs (in between thyme, oregano and wild fennel). Its taste is warm and immediately embraces the palate with fruity and intense releases. The slight, acid freshness of Monreale DOC Rosso Pietragavina matches with its light vegetable tone.
A white needing to be mentioned as the ideal companion for pizza (particularly if topped with sea fruits) is Salento IGT Malvasia bianca "Giancola" by Tenute Rubino, one of the most renowned estates in Apulia. high-calibre wine that entices all senses with harmony, complexity and neat fruit-laden flavours.
Marked by a straw-yellow colour with bright golden reflections, the Malvasia Giancola features a complete bouquet with fragrances of broom, acacia and iris, alternated with abundant sensations of pineapple, yellow peach, vanilla and sea notes. In the mouth, it is extremely elegant and enthralling, gifted with rare and singular gentleness, counterbalanced by a fresh and fulfilling acid note.
Both wines are available for purchase online on the Libiamo wine store.
So, now that Spring is finally blooming, nothing better than a pizza with friends on your home’s terrace, enjoying a glass (or two) of Italian wine: Libiamo! #Food