26 January 2010
Saturday night is either date night or family night, across the globe, and is no exception at Antica Pieve, a roadside pizzeria in Filattiera. Since I have neither a family nor a date at this juncture, I thought I would circumvent the two and have pizza with Luca, the eldest of the Conti boys at the olive farm. I have recently been insured to drive, so why not take advantage of my newfound freedom and see what town has to offer on a bitterly cold yet hoppin’ Saturday night.
Antica Pieve was packed, little tent cards with family names reserving long tables for an evening with cousins, second cousins, once-removed… we were lucky to get a table for two near the green tiled pizza oven. A quick glance at the menu was all I needed, as I opted for the Pizza Luciano, a simple one topped with tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, capers, and stracchino. If you’ve never heard of stracchino before, don’t beat yourself up for it. Stracchino doesn’t travel well, so finding it outside of Italy is nearly impossible, as unfair as that fact may be. It is a rich, creamy spreadable cheese, easily melted and popular as a sandwich spread for children, due to its mild and handy properties. But on pizza… wow! The crispy thin crust, combined with the salty capers (double the size of any caper I’ve ever seen) and the creamy stracchino atop a snappy fresh tomato with smooth buffalo mozzarella underneath it all was the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had. In fact, I had to remove some of the capers to alleviate a little bit of the saltiness, particularly since I am a newish caper fan. Don’t get me wrong. I truly appreciated the big succulent berries bursting with brine, but a wise eater also respects her limitations. In due time I will have developed the palate to take the big caper plunge, but for now… baby steps.
Luca’s pizza was called a Crick Croc. Apparently the Crick Crok title extends into other child-friendly products, as I came across a Pringle-esque potato chip packet marked “crick crok” at a snack stand just yesterday. The pizza, however, consisted of tomato sauce, mozzarella, stracchino, a generous number of hot dog slices and a mound of French fries. Really. A mound. To say it was a turnoff is an understatement, however I am not eleven. Funny, I have traveled 6,500 miles for a Saturday night with hot dog and fries, Italian style. I shouldn’t knock it ‘til I try it of course, but I didn’t try it, nor do I care to. There were enough kids in the house on a busy Saturday night to justify it on the menu, for at least a dozen more Crick Croks sailed past our table, nesting in front of wide-open eyes throughout the evening.
Impressive as well was the Fanta Orange soda, its color indeed found in nature, and its flavor well within a healthy glycemic parameter. I believe there might actually have been some orange juice somewhere in the ingredients, and for a kid-style Saturday night, it was the perfect way to wash down pizza.