True Italian Taste at the EHTL

Pizza: classic and gourmet topping

On 18 March 2021, students enrolled in the final year of the cookery course (classes DP3CU1 and DP3CU2) took part in an online Master Class devoted to a dish that is a worldwide success and whose traditional production technique is on UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage: Neapolitan pizza. Organised by the Italo-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, this initiative provided an opportunity to work with authentic Italian products and to receive explanations and advice from a renowned chef on how to prepare unusual toppings. A three-stage training course to enrich the theoretical and practical knowledge of the young people.

Stage 1: the history of pizza, with the first mention made in 997 AD, its etymology which probably refers to the word pitta, and Queen Margaret of Savoy who gave her name to the Margherita pizza whose ingredients – tomato, cheese and basil – represent the three colours of the Italian flag. Today, in the context of the pandemic, pizza would even be the number one takeaway or delivery item.

Stage 2: the meeting with Chef Matteo ROSSATTO, a graduate of ALMA, the famous international school of Italian cuisine located near Parma. This enthusiast who has worked alongside great chefs, including Alain DUCASSE, passed on a wealth of information to the participants, starting with the secrets of successful pizza dough, before continuing with sound advice for future cooks: the importance of varying products and consistencies, marrying flavours, choosing seasonal and local products, and taking care of the visual aspect by paying particular attention to the chromatic aspect. “A good cook creates something that speaks to the heart and soul! ”

Finally, the presentation of three recipes chosen by the chef broadened the horizon of possibilities offered by this popular dish which can become gastronomic depending on the topping. The traditional Margherita pizza, for example, offers a new taste experience when prepared with candied tomatoes and exceptional cold cuts such as Culatello di Zibello. Similarly, the topping of duck legs and broccoli rabe, an ancient vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, all drizzled with duck juice with grainy mustard, takes the pizza to the next level. Finally, the students were surprised by the topping made from cuttlefish and their ink.

Step 3: Reproduce the recipes from the Master Class as faithfully as possible, using authentic products from the Italian peninsula that had been delivered in advance by the organisers of the True Italian Taste initiative: mozzarella di Bufala PDO, mozzarella Fior di Latte, culatello di Zibello and extra virgin olive oil. The students understood that these are gourmet fillings, some of which require several hours of preparation beforehand. This work was done the day before so that all the ingredients would be ready to use when the pizzas were made. Supervised by their teachers S. LENTZ in the kitchen and A. LOUTSCH at the oven, the students went through the different recipes. The verdict after the tasting: the dough was excellent and finally it was the simplest pizza that received the most votes: the Margherita gourmet.

The students who are coming to the end of their training as cooks at the EHTL appreciate every opportunity to discover new things, as was the case a few months earlier with the Master Class devoted to the flavours of Colombia.