A smile…Quando vieni da me? He asked. When will I come? When you’re there was my answer.
But I wanted a Saturday. A Saturday in Pizzeria with Gino Sorbillo at his pilace on Via Tribuniali. Not far from where we Americans call Christmas Alley. In the heat of the city. The heart of the city. Da Gino. I wanted a table where I could try a pizza or two or 5 or 6 to with the rhythm of Napoli in the background. Neapolitans, tourists, regulars, first timers. All curious, if not a little enthusiastic about having a seat at Sorbillo’s...pizza makers for three generations.
Gino greeted me at the door that afternoon. I was able to grab a table just before a line started to form outside. Phew…
I was handed a menu, but knew that it really didn’t matter…Gino already had in mind what he wanted me to try. Gino. Constantly trying new combinations. And on this particular Saturday, I would be his guinea pig. There are worse things in life. Let the experiments begin….
Experiment er…Pizza number 1….a pizza with sardines and wild herbs. Ok…let’s continue, I thought.
I was then brought out a series of pizzas that which made customers at the nearby tables come over and take a look. Pizzas such as Pizza torzelle a papacelle with mozzarella di bufala, torzelle from Vesuvius, and Naples’s famous papaccelle. Then a pizza made with tigrato nero tomatoes and cacciotina al burro. Sorbillo insisted that I try his Superpomordoro Sorbillo made with a particular passito di pomodoro, lardo di nero and lemon peel.
Pizzas continued to arrive at my table like his pizza with fior di latte, casoperuto with thyme, and pancetta arrotolata in pepper from Carrabs…
It was time to stop. Time to stop, and chat with Gino about his past. His family who has been making pizza since 1935. 20 Aunts and uncles. Another time. Another way of life.
We talked about the present. How he is always in giro…travelling around. How he loves to promote pizza…promote Naples…promote Campania. His love of products from the region. His respect for the territory.
We talked about the future. His desire to continue as an ambassador for Neapolitan pizza. His plans to expand his pizzeria. His desire to hold events at home, so to speak.
And we talked about my coming back for another visit. There are still some pizzas that you didn’t try, he reminds me.
I’ll save some space…
Via Tribunali 32