Abruzzo Italy Pizza in the Park

We hadn’t been able to catch up with Marco’s cousin Cinzia for awhile.  She works as a waitress and knows the best places to eat in Pescara, so when she called to invite us out for dinner, I was buzzing with anticipation.  I had come down with a cold the night before but its nothing I couldn’t put up with for a good meal.

We dressed up and waited for her at the bottom of the steep hill that is our street and it wasn’t long until her Mercedes hatchback zipped around the corner and skidded to a halt beside us.  We got in the car and learned that her mum, Tina had come along and others (another 10 people) were meeting us at the restaurant.  I asked where we were going and she told us we were going for pizza.  Last year she took us out for pizza and it was almost as good as the pizza we had in Pompei, Napoli.  I asked her if we were going to the same place, but she said no, we are are going somewhere where the pizza is much better!

I’ve heard many people say that they had terrible pizza in Italy.  Marco and I can say the same thing.  But if you know where to eat good pizza in Italy, it’s like nothing else and no artisan or gourmet pizza anywhere else in the world, no matter how good, can quite capture the essence of it.

The restaurant was housed within a park with plenty of tables and chairs outside.  It was a little fresh that night, so we sat inside beneath the wooden beams with the soccer projected large on the far wall.  We ordered chips and fried mozzarella balls for starters and an selection of pizzas to follow.  I’m not a beer drinker so I ordered a glass of white wine for myself.  Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and Pecorino are the most common white wine varieties in Abruzzo.  Trebbiano is my preference because it is light and fruity with a crisp finish.  Although local Sauvignon Blanc is produced here, Trebbiano is readily available and it has been taking the place of my usual aperitivo.

The pizzas came two at a time with a tomato based pizza with salami, and a buffalo mozzarella pizza starting things off.  Again, it’s the tomatoes that blew me away.  They are so sweet and rich without being heavy at all, and the salami sliced wafer thin, cut sharply through the sweetness of the tomatoes and the warm silky hum of the mozzarella.
The buffalo mozzarella delighted with its slight tang and more developed flavour (than cows mozzarella) and the soft ooziness really set of the crispness of the aromatic, wood fired crust.

My pick came along next and I don’t remember much after that! Buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, porcini mushrooms and truffle.  These four ingredients make me want to kneel before the red, white and green flag and say “God bless you Italy, God bless you”.  One bite of this pizza and the earthy muskiness of the truffle had me mentally transported deep into the forest, beneath trees lush with greenery and damp old leaves thick beneath my boots.  I held a woven basket half full of porcini, Marco walked ahead of me with our dog busy sniffing for truffles. .  okay I’m getting carried away!

After dinner we drove to a gelateria named Gelateria RivaReno, an Italian franchise who has a store open in Sydney.  It’s the kind of gelateria that hides its gelato beneath stainless steel lids behind the counter, so the menu on the wall told of such combinations as ricotta and fig with pine nuts, and chocolate with cinnamon.  Cinzia asked me if I thought it was better than the other gelaterias we had been to in Pescara and I answered yes.  “It’s the panna” (cream) she said.  “It’s richer.”  Across the road is a cafe that I visited last year and have been wondering where it is because last year, I had an excellent cornetto with cheery jam from there.

Via Venetiza, I will see you again soon.

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