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All About Pizza


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Peter-

How do you define great?

Good is one thing, great is a lot more. 

Who are the zinfandel producers that consistently produce great wines? 

Where are the new zinfandel regions where they are planting zins b/c of what a great varietal it is?

Good wines are wines you like and enjoy-  Great wines need to have something more and great varietals need to have a number of characteristics. 

Cheers,

Charles

Peter - what about this?

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There is a reason a bottle of 1966 La Tache can cost $2000 and the best Zinfandel (if there is such a thing as a best Zinfandel) costs less then $100 and most likely costs $40.

Yes, its too much money chasing too little product. People who don't like zinfandel probably don't like Sam Fuller movies either. Well, I'm not hung up on subtlety.

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Well did you ever drink wine with pizza? No matter how many times I've heard someone say "this is a good pizza wine," it isn't any good. Coca Cola is better with pizza then wine is.

Yes, I drink Zinfandel, the coca cola of wine.

Zinfandel doesnt deserve that moniker, its a serious varietal.

WHITE Zinfandel however, like the kind Beringer makes, definitely deserves that title.

QUOTE (Charles Smith @ Jan 21 2003, 10:31 AM)

Peter-

How do you define great?

Good is one thing, great is a lot more.

Who are the zinfandel producers that consistently produce great wines?

Where are the new zinfandel regions where they are planting zins b/c of what a great varietal it is?

Good wines are wines you like and enjoy- Great wines need to have something more and great varietals need to have a number of characteristics.

Cheers,

Charles

Peter - what about this?

First of all I quoted your Fearless Leader's comment listed below.

Second of all, yes, what is great? You tell me, you seem to have all the answers.

Thirdly I have had some great Zinfandel (Foppiano 1973 for starters).

And lastly, it's all a matter of opinion, isn't it. I think a lot of people on this site have a lot of free time and read the 'guides' in bed until the witching hour and without that they are lost. Even when I go on my 'Real Italian' rants I accept wholeheartedly that I love food as cooked in Italy whilst others prefer Italian food as cooked in England or New York or wherever. I never say they are wrong - it's all a matter of personal opinion which is what I think Egullet is all about - correct me if I'm wrong (as I'm sure you will).

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I'm not interested in Jason's opinion about Zinfandel - the question is to you.

How do you define great?

Good is one thing, great is a lot more.

Who are the zinfandel producers that consistently produce great wines?

Where are the new zinfandel regions where they are planting zins b/c of what a great varietal it is?

If you don't know, just say so.

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Peter-

I'm trying to learn here, not trying to argue with you-

If you think zin is a great varietal, I'd like to

see some examples and one great wine doesn't do the trick. If there are examples of winemakers planting zin in other countries, that would be interesting- everyone wants to be the next Burgundy and so they plant it everywhere.

I've had one great zin- a Behrens and Hitchcock '97. After I had it, I called the winery and asked about it-

Their response-

"yep, that was a great wine- we have no idea what happened"

not the response you'd get from a pinot producer.

Cheers,

Charles

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I apologize for joining this topic late but I believe the pizzaria you mentioned in Venice is Teatro Pizzaria.

I've had pizza in Naples and actually throughout Italy going out of my way to research the best that I can find. But I honestly believe the best pizza on earth is the coal oven pizza you mentioned at Pepe's on Wooster street in New Haven. Yes, the white clam but also any pizza really since Pepe's crust for me is the finest I have tasted anywhere.

I'll even go another step and say the SECOND best pizza I've ever had is 100 yards up Wooster street at Sally's Apizza which also has a coal oven. New Haven also has a couple of other places such as "The Spot" (which is actually the original Pepe's from the '20's with its own coal oven but for some reason I prefer Pepe's which honestly may be psychological but I swear it's better) and Modern. There are other outstanding coal oven pies in America including Tacconelli's in Philly, Regina in Boston and Totonno in Coney Island among others but Pepe's and Sally's stand alone as, I believe, the best anywhere. I honestly believe that the crust on Pepe's pie is almost an art form.

As much as I hate to admit it I drink Diet Coke with pizza in America and Coke Light in Europe. (I can't help it but 50 years ago my taste for this was formed when I first discovered pizza and couldn't drink wine yet.) Wine? That I drink before...and after.

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Joe H - Thanks for telling it like it is. Your post reminds me that the person I had dinner with last week in Paris, and who lives in Rome, told me the bread in general in Italy isn't very good. I was sort of surprised to hear them say that because I was under the impression they had good bread there. But it sounds like you have been around the block there. What do you say about the bread and how does that relate to Pepe's having better crust then a place like Teatro or Chez Black on the beach in Positano.

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I was under the impression they had good bread there.

Why?

Although there is a great variety of bread baked all over Italy, everyday bread in Italy is generally lousy. Tuscan bread in particular, with which I am most familiar, is especially lousy because it often eliminates salt altogether. While this makes a fine neutral background for tasting oil, and for scooping and soaking up juices and sauces, and for use in soups and salads, the bread itself is not very good. Many attribute the witholding of salt to the Tuscans' frugal nature, a trait less generously characterized by others. The Tuscan version of focaccia, schiacciata, can be very good, especially with a topping or a filling. And let's not forget a great Italian contribution to bread baking, grissini.

In my experience, Italian breads get better as more biga is used. This is also true for French breads using more natural starter and less commercial yeast. Examples of pane di Como using commercial yeast and biga make an interesting comparison in this respect.

Sweet breads and holiday breads, such as panettone, easter bread, and pandoro, among many others, are delicious. But even these at their richest still evince qualities of restraint and simplicity that run through all of Italian cuisine.

Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Steve, I've never been to Chez Black (at least not YET) but I prefer the bread in France to Italy. I do remember that one of the few things that I liked about Aimo e Nadia was their bread. In fact there was one roll that was truly exceptional. I don't remember the name but there's a bread bakery in Paris that's hundreds of years old (probably a number of these actually!) but it was just superb. In America eliminating places like D. C.' Bread Line or Berkeley's Acme (Catania in D. C. makes a great hard sub roll by the way-years ago it was on North Capitol Street) the best long "french bread style" roll that I have tasted is from either the Atlantic City Bakery or Rando's who both supply Atlantic City's White House Sub Shoppe. I actually like this over any other baguette that I have tasted here. But, in truth, I don't have an obsession with bread and probably don't have the palette to be able to judge this as others. Pizza is another matter, however. This has been a "lifelong study" of sorts for me!

Sometime we have to start another thread on the US board about places like Imo's in St. Louis or the Victory Pig in Wilkes Barre or Arcaro and Genelli's in Old Forge, PA and Wells Brothers in Racine, WI which don't get the national press that Chicago, NY and New Haven do.

But for pizza crust there's just nothing that I've had in Italy that can compare to Pepe's.

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Joe, I grew up in New Haven. I'm not sure it's psychological, but it could be - nothing does it for me like The Spot. We went all the time when I was a kid. Don't get me wrong, I love Pepe's, and I love Sally's. And Modern Pizza is good too. Did you ever go to the original Tony & Lucille's for calzones?

And....have you been to DiFara's??

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Joe H -- Have you been to Naples. When you compare Pepe's to Italian pizza are your comparing it to Neapolitan pizza or Roman or other types, all of which are quite different. This thread has long ago derailed from the discussion of Naples pizzerias, and you offer a glimmer of getting it back on track.

Nina -- I also like DiFara's, but it too has little similarity to Neapolitan pizza.

Edited by marcus (log)
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I ate at Antico Martini once upon a time. It was 1983 and I was on my honeymoon. We were staying at the Hotel Fenice and the restaurant was literally attached to the hotel. I don't recall my meal as being terrific although it wasn't terrible either. It wasn't as good as the pizza at Teatro though. But boy did we hate Venice. Are you surprised to hear that?

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I consider Venice to be the most wonderful place in the world. When I first ate at Antico Martini in the early 70s it had 2 Michelin stars and the meal was memorable, I remember the Crespelli. I haven't been recently, but I do like Vino Vino, the tavola calda/wine bar that is attached to the restaurant.

But what do I know, I find that Italy operates overall more efficiently than the UK.

Edited by marcus (log)
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I was at Da Michele about ten years ago and another whose name escapes me but it was ancient. Am I wrong, but isn't Neopolitan pizza from a WOOD burning oven and not a coal oven? In fact I believe that coal ovens in America were originally sold as "bread" ovens in the '20's. I went in Totonno's one time, had pizza, and after leaving walked a block or so down the street and stopped at a store that had a coal burning oven that looked exactly like Pepe's even down to the 10 foot long handles. I went back to Totonno's and asked them about it and they said, "Oh, that's a bread oven. You don't bake pizza in it." Point is that their coal oven, like Sally's, is different from the coal oven at Pepe's. I don't know what this means but Pepe's oven appears to be different from any other that I have seen.

In Italy I have only really gone out of my way to look at what burns IN the oven with the pie for the last five or six years but I don't remember seeing coal in ANY oven anywhere. Am I wrong? A lot of wood just like here. But lumps of coal? I just haven't seen any.

I've seen Di Fara's raved about on Chowhound for two years. I've got to go there. I've been to Patsy's, Grimaldi's, John's, Lombardy's, etc. but not Di Fara's. From what I understand it really may be the best of all.

By the way for anyone that has followed this: my wife and I are back in Genoa and Florence next week for business. There is a restaurant called La Fornace di Barbablu about 70 km west of Genoa in Vado Ligure. It is absolutely intriguing. A Michelin star (for better or worse!) and it is a "converted" 2000+ year old Roman furnace that has some really sensational photos on its website. Low ceilings, a lot of stone and brick-it looks totally unique. Has anyone been there or does anyone know anything about it?

www.lafornacedibarbablu.com

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Joe H - Thanks for telling it like it is.

There you go again Stevie-boy. It is NOT 'as it is', it is merely his opinion and I repect that.

ps I love Italian bread (as baked in Italy) - it's a matter of opinion. I'm sure I could find sixty million Italians who agree with me.

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Is Hovis good bread? Is Wonder Bread good bread? They use cheap commercial flour and commercial yeast and mass produce their bread. Is an opinion thinking their bread is good a valid one? Like I said, I was always under the impression that Italy had good bread but people are telling me otherwise. And whether they do have good bread or not is a function of a number of things. The type of flour they use, the type of yeast, how good the water is, and whatever else they might add to the ingredients, followed by what type of oven they use. But it surely isn't is a matter of opinion.

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My disclaimer up front is, yet again, that "good" is a relative term, but I will attempt to use it in the widest intelligent sense :smile: Similarly, I will have to struggle with the implicit definition that "Italian bread" is the range of breads found widely made across the country, and represented abroad by bakers who describe their breads as "Italian bread". And similarly for each nationality. So I have to exclude localised artisans and obscure variations that no doubt will be widely found across Italy who may well produce entirely different breads of which I know nothing.

I love Italian bread; that's because it is to my taste. I enjoy the typically well-baked crust, and the slightly coarse, chewy texture inside. I am especially fond of the pugliese from Sullivan Street bakery that they serve in Babbo. I also enjoy southern Italian pizza base.

Italian bread is made, as far as I can tell, from good ingredients, and it's made (in the places where I like it) with care and skill. So I'm content to say that it's good bread.

I also like Danish bread, which is about as opposite to Italian bread as you can get. It's very sophisticated, has widely differing textures and flavours according to type of bread, and it's the only refined white bread I've eaten that I have liked. So I'm content to say that Danish bread is good bread.

It happens that I dislike French bread. I find it either fluffy and tasteless, or greasy or doughy. I can understand why others might like it, but it's just not to my taste. So I don't find French bread good.

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I love Italian bread; that's because it is to my taste. I enjoy the typically well-baked crust, and the slightly coarse, chewy texture inside.

It happens that I dislike French bread. I find it either fluffy and tasteless, or greasy or doughy. I can understand why others might like it, but it's just not to my taste. So I don't find French bread good.

Stevie-boy, NOW will you admit it's a matter of opinion and NOT fact.

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