The first time I saw Ciro Oliva, it was for “ChePizza” event in Milan.
I tried his fried pizza with fresh cheese and lemon zest and got a foodgasm. That day I got struck by his joviality that was contaminating everyone talking to him.
The second time I saw him was for “Le strade della Mozzarella” event. Ciro was promoting Neapolitan tradition with a twist of modernization. I remember that day, asking for one of my first selfies to send to my pizzalovers friends…
At less than 25 years, married with kids, he developed the social concept of “pizza sospesa”. In the Neapolitan tradition, when people go to the bar to get a coffee, they can pay for two coffees : the one they drink and one, suspended, meaning that this coffee will be offer to the next needy person entering the bar. At Concettina I 3 santi, the pizzeria of Ciro’s family, the same principle has been applied to pizza.
So when I discovered that during “Cibo a regola d’arte” event, we could cook the pizza with Ciro Oliva, I sent a message to my “pizzalovers” friends and we decided to register.
We arrived a bit earlier and got the surprise to see Ciro on stage, explaining the concept of his pizza. He had a storytelling linked to his territory and was talking about explosion of flavors as on their volcano.
After the conference, we went to the elevator and ended to go up with Ciro. His hyperactivity mixed with his Neapolitan accent gives you a boost of energy and makes you smile even if you don’t want to.
I lived the lesson as a storm, everything was fast. Ciro explained the difference of ingredients between homemade pizza and "wood oven" pizza. He explained why sometimes we get thirsty cause of the salt proportion, and the importance of the raise to avoid belly troubles. He explained how humidity and temperature influence on the percentage of yeast to add.
He then showed us how to bake the dough and we finally fried our own pizza.
He concluded saying that “cooking is entertainment, pleasure and love”.
And as fast he arrived, he left.
We all went back home with our dough that we had to make raise for 16 hours + 5 hours.
But that day, there was a marathon in Milan. So after having difficulty to find transportation and getting tired of carrying almost 2kilos of dough plus one kilo of himalayan pink salt and one kilo of Neapolitan flour, my dough ended in a bin of the city.
But what is sure, is that my experience will remain engraved in my brain...