If you come to Naples and don't eat fried pizza, it's like going to Paris and not going to see the Eiffel Tower.
Welcome to the second episode of a new set of pods on the Series "On The Road Edition" hosted by Stevie Kim. Join stevie as she desperately seeks the best pizza in Napoli - Tune-in as she enjoys the sites, sounds and ...the pizza! In this episode Stevie meets Enzo and Salvatore Piccirillo, the owners of La Masardona, a famous and ancient fried pizza restaurant in Naples. The conversation takes place over a glass of Marsala and sparkling wine as well as some delicious fried pizza. Enzo and Salvatore will take listeners on a journey to discover the traditions of fried pizza. Listen to Episode 740 on the Italian Wine Podcast and, if you don't happen to speak Italian, find the English translation below. And stay tuned for the next episode next Saturday! We are already hungry!
Stevie: So, we tasted a lot of fried pizza however we didn't talk about one thing, okay? Wine. What wine goes with fried pizza?
Enzo: So, in ancient times when there were not many choices of wine, people used to drink Marsala, Marsala all'uovo, a fortified wine. Today, we offer because it is right to do so, bubbles.
Stevie: Ah the bubble!
Enzo: Explain why the bubble...
Salvatore: Well, at the beginning Marsala wine was proposed and it is still proposed as a tradition, together with fried pizza, it is a fortified wine that even before fried pizza was often eaten at the very beginning of the morning, therefore at seven in the morning, at eight in the morning Marsala wine was also used to warm...
Stevie: 7, 8 in the morning?
Salvatore: Yes, for that reason it was also used to warm people up. Today we associate sparkling wines because they have the function of degreasing, generally fried food can leave a flavour, a sensation of grease in the mouth. Not in our case because our fried food is very dry, but in the specific case of a sparkling wine it helps us to keep the palate even more fresh and clean from what can be the sensation of having eaten fried food. Therefore, we always tend to match a wine which is usually white, sparkling with fried pizza.
Stevie: Ah what kind of grapes is this one, do you know?
Salvatore: Metodo Classico, it is an autochthonous wine and therefore it belongs to our territory...
Stevie: Greco? Fiano?
Salvatore: It doesn't say... Sparkling wine...
Stevie: Alright, we'll look it up later. Okay then, which one do you guys prefer though? Marsala or the bubbly?
Enzo: Both, we are... So, we, of our product that we offer to our guests in our pizzerias...
Stevie: is it the Marsala?
Enzo: No, we love everything
Enzo: That is, what we propose is what we personally like. So, we offer it because we like it, so we are pleased if our guest likes it too. So, if in our menu we have only maybe 10 pizzas, 20 pizzas it is because we like the 10-20 pizzas that we have, so for us they are all the same, the same goes for the sauce, for the bubbles but also for the natural water that we offer, everything must be to our liking. So, let's say.
Salvatore: Surely if you want to make an experience, that is if it is the first time you eat fried pizza... if a tourist not from Naples, wants to eat fried pizza and wants to go back in time, to the '40s, to the '50s we surely suggest Marsala wine because most probably they have never drunk it in their life as well as they have never eaten fried pizza; therefore, associating these two products you make a complete experience. In case of a dinner, of a longer meal, of something more convivial, wine is surely a better match because it accompanies the whole meal. This being a fortified wine, accompanying this one from the beginning to the end...
Stevie: It's a little bit....
Salvatore: It's a heavy thing, however as an experience this one is definitely more distinctive.
Stevie: and what would you prefer?
Salvatore: so, if I must choose, I will certainly choose fortified wine. If I must choose to go back in time, I prefer Marsala because Marsala gives you a feeling...if you close your eyes I go back. The wine however, surely as a meal accompanies very well the fried pizza so I choose it.
Stevie: What about you Enzo?
Enzo: Me, the same as him. I mean, if I have to eat a pizza, as we say here, "al volo", quickly, on a day like this when it is cold, maybe a sip of Marsala wine is good because it cleans your palate and leaves a nice taste, because if you taste it you will see .... It's funny, maybe you prefer something quick like that. But as my son used to say, spending an evening tasting pizza, our fried food, it is more pleasant to have a meal with a glass of bubbles. In our restaurants there are autochthonous products, as my son told you, and therefore they come from our territory, to spend the whole evening with a glass of bubbles.
Stevie: Then I would say, like son, like father. Or like father like son.
Stevie: Okay, let's taste it! Cheers
Salvatore: In Italy, you make eye contact, then lean back and drink it. It's sweet, it's delicate, and it helps you be fresh, it cleanses your palate of a feeling of flavours. Now you can start over with a new flavour.
Stevie: Okay, all right, very good.
Enzo: Did you understand the Marsala matter? This is potato, taste it.
Salvatore: So, this one you're eating is a potato-only crocché, there is no addition of any other kind of ingredients.
Stevie: Well flour.
Salvatore: Just potato, salt, pepper, and cheese. There are no mashed potatoes, no thickeners, no type of product that changes the flavour of the potato.
Enzo: And it's fresh. It's not a frozen product. Do you feel it's delicate?
Stevie: You guys should try it. I like Marsala actually.
Enzo: "I like Marsala" but be careful if you drink, drink then... (laughs)
Salvatore: Now you eat, and you taste fried, you drink marsala, zero flavour, okay? It cleans up everything and then you can try another thing, again another flavour in your mouth.
Stevie: Okay, that's good
Enzo: Taste the frittatina
Salvatore: This is the classic pasta frittatina made with béchamel sauce, peas, and ham.
Stevie: But why are you so...shall we say fit?
Enzo: I'm not in shape, he's in shape, I'm not. (laughs)
Salvatore: You asked me, for people who are dieting what do we propose. The fried pizza that we make, is not a pizza full of fat, because the characteristic is that the oil cooks but does not enter. So, it is not a product necessarily, necessarily fat. However, we use all products that are very light, and we try fried pizza almost every day.
Noises in the background someone pours more marsala
Salvatore: How is it?
Enzo: It's a taste sensation, look
Stevie: It's really good!
Enzo: Shall we try the bubble? Do we see the difference?
Enzo: We'll have him open it for you. Taste this...
Stevie: No, no
Enzo: this is just rice, it's an arancino. It's known...look it's not greasy, it's not fat.
Stevie: That's really good. I have to stop saying that but that's really good.
Enzo: So, I was telling you at our place, you will find few things but those few things you will find are things that we do.
Stevie: Okay, cheers!
Enzo: However, we are a pizzeria with modest prices, so it is useless for me, as so many pizzerias do, to put on the wine list a champagne that costs 100 or 200 euros, please note, in Naples there are pizzerias that offer you a crazy wine list. But in my opinion in a pizzeria, one does not enter if you eat a pizza that costs 5 euros and the bottle of wine costs 150 euros. Do you agree?
Stevie: But now people are drinking more wine at your place or not? Less, right? More beer
Enzo: It depends on how you eat. If you come and you want to eat slow and leisurely then take wine. If you want to eat fast, because you are on a break from work, then have beer. If you come early in the morning to eat breakfast have marsala.
Stevie: But what do they eat in the morning?
Enzo and Salvatore: Fried pizza.
Salvatore: At 7 a.m. we are already working with people eating fried pizza. Who are these people?
Stevie: Yeah, who are these people who eat fried pizza in the morning?
Salvatore: Whom who works in the markets, in the fish market...
Enzo: That they have finished working
Stevie: Ah they're done working?
Salvatore: Yes, they work at night so at seven in the morning it's time to eat. Whom who works at night in hospitals.
Stevie: Beautiful this thing.
Salvatore: Yes, because it's another segment of the population that lives at night; therefore, they eat very early in the morning, and we give....
Stevie: What kind of hours do you keep?
Salvatore: In this location, which is the historic one, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., every day.
Stevie: Four o'clock in the afternoon.
Salvatore: Precisely because...
Stevie: Why is there no dinner?
Enzo: Yes, only on Saturday we are open in the evening. On the other hand, at his other locations in Rome, lunch, and dinner, from 10 am...
Salvatore: At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, then from 6 o'clock in the afternoon....
Stevie: However, are there also people in Rome who eat at 10?
Salvatore: 10 a.m.? Someone.
Stevie: It's more like breakfast.
Salvatore: Yes, yes instead of eating focaccia, as breakfast, you can eat fried pizza.
Enzo: Because then you immediately see how the fried pizza costs, it costs 2 euro and 50.
Stevie: Oh my gosh!
Enzo: So, instead of making a cappuccino and a croissant maybe you take a pizza because it's cold you eat it on the way, and you put in your stomach something warm, something that you eat and you know it's not bad because maybe you're our customer and you know the products are good, maybe it helps you to face the day. You see, in America they have the caloric "breakfast" breakfast, eggs, bacon...why? Because it helps you get through the day, so we used to eat fried pizza. We are talking about the times of a poor economy, there were those who ate a fried pizza in the morning, even at 8 and 9 and skipped lunch. But not because they wanted to skip it but because they couldn't buy it. At the time of my grandmother who made pizza, we ate a single dish, in the evening we made a big pot of pasta and potatoes, a big plate and that was also lunch. Then in the morning we went to work, the wealthiest family, maybe the mother prepared six, seven breakfasts for her children who went to work, with a piece of bread like this and what was put inside? It wasn't ham and mozzarella! They made friarielli and eggplants. All vegetables that were cheap and with a little money you could make a big pan of eggplant, buy two, three pieces of bread that at the time the bread was bought ... Not like now that you go and say "can I have a baguette? They would buy palatone of bread, the mother, in the morning before her children went to work, she would cut the palatone into pieces... But those who could afford it, but there was also the one who maybe made himself a fried pizza in the morning and it helped him to face the whole day.
Stevie: So, as a final thing you want to say something to people who have never tried fried pizza?
Salvatore: Try the fried pizza.
Salvatore: Definitely if you come to Naples and don't eat fried pizza, it's like going to Paris and not going to see the Eiffel Tower.
Enzo: And in New York, how can you not see the Statue of Liberty.
Stevie: Ah-a! Okay that's a wrap.