by Dennis Bunnik
I was wondering why our tour director Giorgio wasn’t keen on trying any of our pizzas. We’d made such an effort and were incredibly proud as they came out of the wood-oven. I put it down to him not being hungry. It turns out he was saving his appetite!
We were at a farm-house restaurant high on a hill overlooking Sorrento. The same family has farmed this place for 5 generations and before we got to the serious business of pizza making we were given a tour of the farm. We saw vines showing their first flush of spring growth and cows that provide the milk to make the cheese we’d soon be using.
Our host, Maria, demonstrated the delicate art of cheese making whilst we enjoyed a glass of white on the terrace.
Then Paolo, the family’s pizza-making maestro, got us started on our own pizzas. The trick was not to overwork the dough – using gentle movements we blended the ingredients into our base. This is not as easy as Paolo made it look! But we had a great time anyway.
Whilst we waited for the dough to rest we enjoyed some more wine together with bread, dips and salad – all made onsite.
Then it was time to put our gloves back on and finish off our masterpieces! We were making the classic Neapolitan pizza so kept it simple with tomatoes, mozzarella and a bit of basil. Once done it was off to the kitchen where the wood-oven was raring to go. I was amazed at how quickly our raw creations were transformed into golden pizzas and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in.
We each got to eat our own pizza, washed down with more of Maria’s fine white wine of course. It was here that Giorgio kept politely declining our offers of pizza. Soon we could see why. Whilst we were enjoying our salad & dips, Paolo had snuck off to make a few pizzas of his own.
It turns out that pizza making is an art and it is possible to taste the difference between our ‘beginner’ pizzas and a true master’s. We may have been using the same ingredients but Paolo had the magic touch.
He followed the Neapolitans with some sweet dessert pizzas which were equally delicious. Then just as we were polishing these off Maria suggested we try some of her Limoncello.
We had a wonderful evening. This was back in May 2012 when I dropped in to spend a few days with our first Italy, Sicily & Malta tour and the pizza making was my treat.
We had so much fun that we’ve now decided to include pizza making in Sorrento in all our tours to Italy. It’s a tough life!
Enjoy your own pizza making on our 22 day small group Southern Italy, Sicily & Malta tour.
To check out the full itinerary click here.
And don’t forget to watch these great clips on YouTube of Dennis travelling on this amazing tour.