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Today’s Lesson in Italian: Pizza

Saturday, March 20, 2010

When in Rome, you may visit Gabriele Bonci at:

Via della Meloria 43 – 00136 Rome
Tel: 00 39 06 39 74 54 16
Cipro underground station
Pizzas from 9.50 to 22 euros a kilo
Closed Sundays

And here is an excerpt from Samuel Cogliati’s article on ViaMichelin in 2008:

Gabriele Bonci: Pizzarium emperor
Gabriele Bonci used to be chef in a famous city-centre restaurant. In 2003, he was seeking new motivation and purchased a tiny shop selling pizza by the slice near the Vatican. He was thinking of reselling the business but fell in love with pizza – something he had never turned his hand to before.
Very soon, his approach to this popular dish brought him to make radical choices: only very high quality organic flours and a natural leaven found among Taranto housewives. Kept going for over a century, this superior leaven has never stopped living… It is now behind the success of a pizza of incredible digestibility.
Pizzarium and Pomarius
Not only are Bonci’s pizzas very easily digestible, they are probably the best in the capital. “For me, the dough is the soul of the pizza,” he says, “everything else is the body.” And what a body!!! On this dough, as crisp as possible and of such purity that it is almost refreshing, Gabriele unleashes his chef’s verve, giving rise to tens of versions topped with potatoes, Parma ham, cod, sausage, cepes, squash flowers… and even truffles, when they are in season.
“For two years, I have been mad about vegetables,” says Bonci. “The Rome countryside has always been a great place for tomatoes, aubergines, artichokes, mixed herbs… Vegetables deserve more consideration and research”. The Pizzarium master gets his supplies from his friends at Pomarius, whom he likes to call “i migliori fruttaroli del mondo”, “the best vegetable sellers in the world”. The deliveries by his friend Andrea Scorrano are completed by the fruit of Bonci’s vegetable garden.

Bir & Fud
Gabriele Bonci is an exuberant fellow. Pizzarium soon became too limited to contain his imagination; so he branched out with a bread oven and other activities. These experiments diverted his attention from his pizzeria, so he decided to come back to it full-time.

This real pizza pro still works as a consultant with Bir & Fud (light-hearted Italianisation of “Beer & Food”), a small beer bistro opened with friends in July 2007. Here you find all kinds of artisanal Italian beers (the Birra del Borgo and Troll brewery are excellent!), which are served with a range of simple, tasty food, as well as, of course, a dozen round pizzas, created by Bonci. It is a friendly place with a convivial atmosphere and very moderate prices. This establishment is at the heart of the attractive working-class area of Trastevere.

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