This “kebab” pizza, prepared by pizzaiolo and restaurateur Alberto Barban of Pizzeria La Torre in Caerano di San Marco (province of Treviso) almost made it into my “best meals of 2012” series.
However delicious, this pizza just couldn’t compete with the many memorables meals of the year.
But it was unforgettable nonetheless: in a part of Italy where xenophobia and separatism sometimes trump human dignity and common sense, the notion of a pizza topped with kebab stands defiantly in the face of often unbridled racism.
Remember: in at least one Italian city, kebab (and kebab purveyors) has been banned from a historic city center. And in many urban areas, kebab and other Middle Eastern street food has been subject to de facto marginalization (you’ll find no kebab stands in the village of Caerano). While young Italians enjoy kebab as much as young people anywhere do in the West (Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles…), the dish has become synecdoche for the north Africans and Arabs who reside in Europe.
When Georgia P, Tracie P, and I stayed in Caerano di San Marco last September, we ate at the pizzeria on three different occasions. And after becoming friendly with Alberto, I asked him to make me his favorite pizza.
We didn’t speak of its underlying social commentary. But I couldn’t help reflect and remark on the fact that it makes perfect gastronomic sense: after all, pizza’s origins fall somewhere in a shared Mediterranean culinary legacy that includes pita and myriad expressions of flatbread.
Chapeau bas, Alberto!
The pizzeria was recommend to us by our friend and client Luca Ferraro, Prosecco producer in Asolo (a short drive from Caerano).
On Luca’s blog today, we posted amazing photos of his mountain bike ascent to a pre-Alpine pass.
The images are impressive as they are picturesque. But, beyond the studly ascent, I can’t think of a better way to illustrate the unique combination of topography, altitude, and marittime influence that define Proseccoland.
I highly recommend the post to anyone trying to wrap her/his mind around what makes Prosecco, Proseccoland, and the Veneto so special (at least to me).
Buona lettura, yall…
Nice conceit about pizza and racism. Well done but more importantly good to see some attitudes in Northern Italy evolving.
Jeremy let me say that this post moved me a lot, I really love to ride my bike around this beautiful area and you do talked about two of best things we have in Veneto: Alberto’s pizza ( one of my favorite) and our beloved hills! thank you!