Back in June, our resident pizza expert visited Pepe In Grani, a two time award winning “Best Pizzeria in the World” winner (2017, 2018) to do some very much needed pizza research.
What he discovered has been passed on in notes and journal items to the team at our sister site, The Yorkshire Deli (which opened today) with some insights into what makes a great pizza. The answers seem obvious, but yet, we’re surprised that many local pizza places don’t remember to do most of what is being advised.
Let us dig down into what our expert found out and how we can bring this to our humble Wakefield store.
When speaking to Franco (owner and pizza maestro, Franco Pepe), what became abundantly clear was the idea of freshness; great, fresh ingredients make the pizza what it is and what it can be.
For example, freshly prepared vegetables provide a taste that “is not imitable with dried produce” as Franco explained. “You need to prepare, season, bring together in a variety of ways of trial and error, but what’s most important is that you use fresh produce only.”
Another striking feature of the pizzas at Pepe In Grani was the originality that was infused into the pizza experience. From the “Wrong Margherita” to the “Peach dessert” which was a mix of vesuvian peaches and cream of mascarpone, the big thing here was to experiment and play with flavour combinations that many would never consider.
Originality is a hard concept for many, we are creatures of habit but what the research in this and other establishments I visited across Naples and Campania showed was that by being that little bit more original and brave, new flavours could become something treasured.
Maybe then, we could start thinking about a rhubarb dessert pizza… anyone?
Keeping it simple
Of course, what remains important to remember is that a truly great pizza is a simple idea. It’s about getting the dough spot on and improved, it’s about making sure that all the basics are tailored and catered for in the best possible way and it’s about making sure you have fun.
“Pizza is a food that brings people together” said Franco, “simple food, good company, that’s what feeds the soul.”
Having your own style
Finally, a big element is about having your own style. It would be presumptuous to think that what we could make would be like Franco, but then we are also living in a different environment and we’ve grown up understanding pizza our own unique way.
What we need to do is bring the principles stated above but adding our own twist. We could make a four cheese pizza with our great Yorkshire variety of cheese. We could develop interesting styles of pizza, why does everything need to be round, why cant we do square tray pizza that is a little more leavened than the Neapolitan varieties? Why can’t we be creative in our way and incorporate a style that is unique to our land and territory?
There’s nothing stopping the Yorkshire Deli and we certainly won’t stop continuing to develop our own style and pay homage to great pizza masters of Southern Italy along the way.