“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Memories of Ischia: The Food, Part Due, Our Pizza Guy

 As silly as it may sound, when we were in Ischia, my mother and I had a pretty set routine for the late hours. After I finished with my evening lessons, we would take a walk, maybe do a little shopping, pick up a pizza from our favorite pizza guy, come back to our nice, spacious room and eat the pizza straight out of the box on our comfy beds while watching DVD’S on the laptop. I know what you’re thinking. You’re in Italy and you stay IN for dinner? First off, we did not do this EVERY night, just most. Second, we were in Italy for a month and sometimes we really craved that feeling of being “home” and doing this kept that feeling alive. Third, no matter where you ate this pizza, it was going to taste amazing, so who cares where we ate it?

Forio, Ischia

So, how did this routine start? Well, on our second night in Ischia (The first night we went out with a group) we were not quite sure what to do for dinner. Were we going to go to same place we went the night before, look for another place, maybe venture to another part of the island? We weren’t really up for anything that big. As we were wandering around trying to make up our minds, we passed a teeny tiny pizzeria. Il Pizzicotto Pizzeria. It was very narrow with just two little booths on one side, a narrow counter for just a few people to sit on the other side and the main counter in the back to order. On one side of the wall was a huge menu, I think they had over 25 pizza specialties. Even though it was small, it felt very inviting and we instantly felt at home. We scanned the menu, unable to pick from so many of the tempting, mouthwatering pizzas. But, after much deliberation, we landed on the Sorriso.

The “Sorriso” was a traditional pie with gravy (some of us Italians call it gravy instead of sauce) and mozzarella, but…..it also had dollops of fresh, creamy ricotta. And if that wasn’t enough, the crust was also stuffed with more fresh ricotta. The combination of the homemade gravy and moist mozzarella with the creaminess of the ricotta, the chewy crust and the smoky taste from the wood burning oven was indescribable. Best pizza ever. While we did try other varieties (my other favorite was the eggplant parmigiano pie) most nights, we just had to get the Sorriso. We would go in, scan the menu, go over a few other options, but I think we both knew we were always going to get the Sorriso.

What made this experience so memorable for us was the fact that even though we were only in Ischia for a little over two weeks, we became regulars at Il Pizzicotto Pizzaeria. It was a very nice feeling. There were moments when we missed home and having a little place where the owners remembered us and knew we would come back every night was a special feeling. I would have loved to have known the names of the two people that were always in there. There was a sweet older woman who helped us a few times and of course, the pizza man himself. Every time we came in, he was so nice and polite. He would take our order and then go straight to making our pie. We even saw him in town a few times and he would always say hello to us. I miss the taste of the pizza in Ischia. It was like no other pizza I have ever had. But I am quite certain I’ll get to try it again someday.

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