It is not round, it is not Neapolitan, it does not tell the tarantella of yeast and long leavening. A star, a bouquet, with lemons. From Sorrento this pizza arrived in Milan. And it amazes
It is pizza, but it is not Neapolitan, it is not round and it is in the shape of a bouquet, whip, donuts and cannoli. It is not leavened 1000 hours, it is not made with mother yeast and just to dispel the last myth, it arrives seasoned with lemons. It's pizza as it does it Antonino Esposito, guru of the counter-current pizza, left from Sorrento and now they come up to Milan to churn out … from the electric oven.
The frozen pizza empire
In Sorrento Antonino Esposito is loved and respected as a mayor of those elected by popular acclaim. Born in 1968, he was born in Sorrento, where he lives and works, but above all he gives work. A master pizza maker who is a heretic and a lover of dogmas, in 1996 he invented the Sorrentine whisk, patented, frozen and known throughout the world. It is a small boat shaped like a small tomato, stuffed with tomato and basil, with two pieces of mozzarella on the ends. Today the company Sorrento Flavors and Traditions it produces a dozen variations of condiments, bases and other frozen pizzas, enough to give work to 45 employees to produce over 30 million pieces a year, under its own brand, for private labels and even for airlines. He could stay at home enjoying the money, instead Antonino Esposito in 2008 participates in the World Pizza Championship and wins the silver medal, a year later he inaugurates Ahum! pizzeria-bowling located in the upper area of Sorrento and in 2015 in Marina Piccola the restaurant Acqu ’e Sale. He goes on TV on Alice and becomes famous even to the general public. In 2019 he opens in Milan in via Solferino. So does Antonino Esposito and soon he will be in Catania, Capri and does not intend to stop: «Not to prove something to someone, I am no longer a boy; not to emerge, now I've done everything in life: but to give myself a dream come true. I am in Milan for personal gratification and to gratify my pizza . And in fact, May 1st is at work in front of the bakery with his boys and eager to tell his story and stop and chat for hours with us.
The heretic pizza maker
It comes from Sorrento, not from Naples, produces frozen pizzas and dismantles the most common beliefs about good pizza one after the other. «Today we like to talk about sourdough, stone-ground flour and long leavening. They are the three stories of the pizza maker to get you up . And he begins to dismantle the theses of others one after the other. "To reach 72 hours of leavening you need strong grains, very rich in proteins, but Italian grains are too weak and with little protein to ripen for so long, so you have to use foreign flours, which to get here maybe even have preservatives. But why not use Italian wheat and leaven less? In 24-48 hours I am ready, working with Italian grains with the germ, the fill paste and a few grams of brewer's yeast. It does not and at 70 ° C it dies, as the mother yeast dies. Stone milled? I prefer to use the most modern technologies that do not spoil the grain and do not heat it . And he concludes: "At the age of fifty I don't need to tell the tarantella. I want to respect the product that gave me life. And I'm against gourmet pizza, I'm a practicing Italian, I want to talk about excellent pizza .
He has no ideological conviction about pizza, no veto and so the frozen king makes pizza that he likes, refusing labels a priori. No round pizza, no classic Neapolitan dough, in Milan Antonino brought his own pizza and apart from the fact that it's really good, it's hard to define it. In the shape of a bouquet, of a donut, of a bundle or a 60 cm long whisk, it has nothing to do with the classic pizza. I miss the dressing, which amazes with the combined Sorrento lemon, mozzarella and fennel seeds: large and yet wiped out in a second. The raw dough is super elastic, from (perfectly) cooked it becomes light, never chewy, so much to last on the plate. And even in the evening, since with the leftovers I admit I made the doggy-bag. Fried pizza is a revelation. Fried, then baked and at the end seasoned, it is so little greasy that the dip in the oil does not feel neither to smell nor to the palate. But it becomes very crunchy.
On the topping the obsession for quality and typical products is total, just look in the fridge-window to understand that nothing comes from the industry, but remains on the classic. "Pizza with seafood? What are we talking about!". For the doughs, instead, they make original mixes: hemp flours, cereals, Venere rice and then the inevitable types 0, 1 and integral. Dough with beer, Sorrento lemon infusion, wine and wild fennel …
The shapes range from the oval, with the classic Marinara or the Cinque Sensi, with cocoa, then there are the famous whips, in which we even finish pasta and potatoes, and even more creative forms like the butterfly or the squares. Just to impress? "Absolutely not. To have fun, of course, but to study the shapes that make the fillings stand out and make my customers wow . He smiles: "And then it's also a memory of when I wasn't able to get her to come straight!"
We drink wine, craft beer from the Sorrento Brewery with IGP lemons and both classic and Neapolitan cocktails, such as the Bloody Cetara with anchovy sauce. And finally a limoncello. But the good one, really from Sorrento and from real lemons (they also have an annurka apple liqueur which is a delight).
Milanesi, do it calmly!
«The pizza gave me everything, I was born poor and the work brought me here: every day of my life I ate, lived and thought about pizza. It is almost a religion ". There is no time when Antonino is not grateful for the pizza for everything he gave him in life, and indeed the business of the frozen Sorrentine whip took him around the world as perhaps he would never have expected. «When you still make pizza, dough, you wake up with the desire to do, it means that you still have passion, the day I will tell a boy:" Go to knead "it will be time to give up". Only regret about Milan? "Even when it's a vacation day it's all organized, planned, and it's a shame, you never take the extra minute to enjoy life." It was May 1st, everything was planned, but in the end, with his pizza, Antonino raised a Milanese at four o'clock. And with ladoggy-bag in hand.