While Tuscan Traveler is in Venice for the Biennale, Francesca has found a Pizza Paradise…
Here is her guest post:
So I was thinking how sad this summer is going to be: Florence is hot, it is humid, the world is going to hell, my new professor of Russian went back to Moscow, leaving me alone to struggle with words and a furious nostalgia for a time that is long gone, plus Guido, my cat, is feeling old and scruffy and I, myself, don’t recognize that lady in the mirror in the morning etc., etc. but … last night …
I HAD A PIZZA FROM HEAVEN!
This place is called Divina Pizza and it is situated in a very scruffy (yes, like Guido) neighborhood, on the corner of via dell’Agnolo and Borgo Allegri.
As the pizzaiolo and owner Graziano says, this is not a pizzeria it is a laboratorio artigiano. Already a good start.
Let’s see, how to describe it? You can stand or maybe sit on a tall stool if you get one, but it DOES NOT matter. The pizza they produce is worth every possible sacrifice. Graziano made me smell the lievito madre naturale (natural yeast mother) that he keeps re-feeding day after day and that has nothing to do with the usual stinky (his words, and I agree) lievito di birra (brewer’s yeast) that is usually used for pizza.
Then he opened the very new first issue of the guide called Pizzerie d’Italia of Gambero Rosso and with pride he showed us the 3 rotelle (cutting wheels) that were awarded just a few days ago for the best pizzeria al taglio (by the slice) in Florence (one of only 2 in Tuscany, the other one is in Arezzo).
The organic products that Graziano, his wife Roberta and son Gabriele use, are: a top of the line extra virgin olive oil, very fresh mozzarella fiordilatte and lusty veggies with a hearty glow, but I think the most important ingredient is Petra, a fantastic stone- ground wheat flour.
“Dough made with Petra flour is rich in fiber (from 6.8% to 8.1% fiber). The flours are able to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water and the chemical structure of the fiber allows it to bind with water. This phenomenon occurs much less in type 0 and type 00 flours because they are low in fiber. The results will surprise you. Products made from Petra flour are more flavorful, easier to digest and last longer – naturally, without added preservatives.” (More here.)
I went there last night after a very not satisfactory meal in another place that I will not mention. So we had already had dinner BUT we were able to ‘vacuum’ two cutting boards full of paradisiacal tastes: slices of pizza with sautèed zucchini and ricotta di pecora (sheep’s milk ricotta), others with mortadella made with maialino felice (happy pork!, as Roberta says), and more eggplants and mozzarella; even the more classic margherita with the sweetest cherry tomatoes was perfect, and then real ‘nduja from Calabria, or should we talk about the focaccia topped with black sesame seeds?
As they only use fresh ingredients I can’t wait for winter to have the cavolo nero and lardo di colonnata pizza!
Also, for Susanna who cannot eat cheese, Roberta made an amazingly beautiful – yes beautiful – round pizza with string beans, eggplants, carrots, tomatoes, gorgeous black olives (that burned all our mouths because we couldn’t even wait for them to cool off a little bit).
Insomma, a beautiful evening accompanied by smiles and love in this little corner of paradise born amidst the plastic food that surrounds us pretty much everywhere you go nowadays, if you happen to live, like me in a very touristy city.
When you go to Divina Pizza, try not to go during rush hour. You want to enjoy a nice chat with Roberta and Graziano, with their sincere smiles and love for what they do. You will be immediately conquered by the simplicity, enthusiasm and strength of their beliefs: “Remember we are not a pizzeria, we are a laboratorio artigiano!”
I can’t wait to be back there … maybe tonight?
Borgo Allegri, 50r angolo via dell’Agnolo, Firenze
Hours: 10:30am-11:30pm (Closed on Sunday, except the last one of the month)
See the video of Divina Pizza.