Pizzette in the Land of Pizzelle

What to do in Pescara when it’s a sunny Saturday in November and you don’t want to get the dishes dirty

I’ve been spending most of the last few months in Naples, the city that gave pizza it’s name and fame, so it would appear odd that I’m writing about Pescara’s pizzette first.
The reason is simple, pizzette on the Adriatic coast are a part of the landscape, and at least from Vasto to Pescara, Numana, and Rimini a couple of oven-fresh pizzette have been part of my life for at least 20 years. And my main focus here is not cooking, or food, but life in Italy through an edible lense.
Pescara’s pizza are very different from their bigger neapolitan cousins – they are breadier, crunchier, oilier, they come out of modern (not wood) ovens in individual pans fused together by the dozen like a primordial cupcake pan. What they have in common is an unspiced tomatoe sauce in which you can still taste the sun, and dashes of mozzarella in which you can savour traces of fresh cream.

Pizzette in Pescara!

Pizzette in Pescara!

Until Pescara became our home, and not just a summer day-trip from L’Aquila, it’s unique pizzette were just a special prize after a relaxing post-afternoon swim.
The Trieste beach concession is by far the town’s most famous pizzetteria in town and they seem to excel in keeping summer alive in our tummies and our minds as we pass from one season to another. At least three times in the last month, if the sun is shining on our faces as we were leaving Sunday mass or picking up the girls after school on Saturday* we would magically forget that lunch was waiting for us at home and we would instead steer our bikes down the beach to the river that cuts this city in two. Like donkeys insisting on a rest they would brake in front of Trieste.

If it wasn’t for the long pants, coats and scarves it feels like it’s still Summer; the tables in front are full of people in sunglasses nibbling pizzette and watching their neighbors stroll by. In back it’s even more laid back, same sunglasses but they’re there to soak up what’s left of the afternoon sun. The plastic castles and mazes and swings are still mounted in the sand just behind, and the smaller clients are enjoying the giant plastic toys so much it makes me jealous.
One word of warning, I suspect that one of the secrets to Trieste’s pizzette is that they adhere to Henry Ford’s idea of customer satisfaction: you can have any pizzetta you want as long as it’s a margherita.** The menu does give other choices, basic white (foccaccia), white with sausage, anchovies, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, etc. Only the first two are real possibilities, but mostly in their inland evening joint in the Portanova dining and pub district..
If you really do insiste on anchovies they will make it for you but be willing to wait a while. Except, of course,during the summer; when the beach umbrellas are in full bloom they will look at you like you’re from Mars as they prepare racks and racks of margheritas for the throngs in sunscreen and flip-flops.
Trieste, however, is not about choice, it’s about instant gratification. If you want variety you can choose between wine or beer, Fanta or Coke, still water or bubbly water.
And trust me, the only real choice you will want to make as November’s last rays beat upon your brow, is if you will be eating two, or three, or four……

*In much of provincial Italy school goes from about 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
** Margheria = mozzarella and tomato sauce. Mr. Ford is famous for saying that his clients can have any color car they want as long as it was black.

For those of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on carbonara.wordpress.com



Pizza Margherita on FoodistaPizza Margherita

Tomato on FoodistaTomato

8 responses to “Pizzette in the Land of Pizzelle

  1. Once again, you are making me long for Italy. You can’t beat the flavours only found there. In fact one of my most memorable meals was at place my cousin took us to, just out of Sulmona where we ate gourmet pizza” al fresco” by candlelight. Sometimes the simplest ingredients done right make for the best dishes. Thanks for letting me travel vicariously through your wonderful posts.

    • Thank you for your comment, I felt the same way writing it. I think the key to the best Italian food is simple use of simple ingredients – just he ingredients are wonderful and the use is insipired. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Sulmona, beautiful place.

  2. Oh, by they way, if you don’t know what “pizzelle” are,it might be because you know them by another name.
    They are a traditional Abruzzese waffle-like treat. They go by many names in Abruzzo (“pizzelle” seems to be the most common, but in L’Aquila they call them “ferratelle” and similar varieties are found in other parts of central italy. They are usually flat, unlike Belgian or English waffles, keep well over time and you can put nutella or, more traditionally, honey or marmalade on them. The original versione were iron clamps that would be held over the fire.

    Two good English language recipies can be found by some of the great writers I’ve come in contact with since I’ve started this.

  3. When I first clicked on the link, I was confused by the pizzelle reference, as I know pizzelles as the waffle treats you mentioned. However, I have to say if I asked for a pizzelle and someone offered me one as you described here, I’d be a happy eater indeed. They sound wonderful.

  4. In Italy you make these and in Lebanon there is a small pizza like that is also delicious; eating it alfresco sounds wonderful.

    • Pizza as the Neapolitans intend it was more or less invented there, but flatbread has been all over the Med for centuries and is nothing really new. Thanks for the comments. I do love your thanksgiving ideas based on Lebanese cooking, so much easier to find those ingredients here in Italy.

  5. My dream is to go and explore Italy for like a month or two. Wonderful pictures. One day….

  6. That pizza looks great I can see why that is a popular stop. Someday I hope to visit Italy and enjoy the history and food.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s