Rossopomodoro has been beckoning pizza lovers to a series of masterclasses on selected days in February and March, transporting visitors into a Neapolitan Dream. Aiming to reinvent the classic vibe of pizzerias in Italy, Rossopomodoro sources its fresh and flavoursome ingredients from the Naples region, while the chefs come from true Neapolitan pizzaioli families.
We made our way down to the Chelsea branch on Fulham Road to put our pizza-making skills to the test. On arrival, we were plied with a glass of bubbly and a board of appetisers with some of the juiciest olives known to man, which made us feel instantly a part of the Napoli family. After meeting the fellow pizza students and getting a sneak-peek of the food to come, the pizza-making began. For those of us that aren’t too great with numbers, the ingredients were all ready measured out: it’s as simple as flour (the finest “00” Caputo flour from Naples), yeast, salt, water and olive oil.
Our maestro pizza-teacher, who came 17th in the World Pizzaioli Competition in Naples, taught us the tricks of the trade, which aim for a comfortable sated feeling, as opposed to the usual post-pizza bloat (according to Rossopomodoro, this means the dough isn’t up to scratch). After throwing together the ingredients came the kneading process, otherwise known as a perfect means of stress relief. There’s nothing more therapeutic than getting to punch some dough and knowing that the result will be a gorgeous Italian style pizza – thick at the edges but with a light thin base.
At the end of the class, we were told we’d be taking home the recipe with our own dough set to make up to four pizzas. The knowledgeable staff gave us the ins and outs of the legend that is pizza, from its etymology (might have come from the Greek ‘Pitta’) to tips on how to judge a pizza dough – the best test is to taste the Marinara, a tomato and basil based pizza without mozzarella, so that the toppings don’t disguise the taste of the dough.
Once we’d washed the flour from your hands and got our pizza dough firmly covered in its box, dinner awaited us. The food here is simple but delicious, from the classic spaghetti with succulent cherry tomatoes and olive oil, to the heavenly creamy buffalo mozzarella margherita. Our favourite had to be the gourmet pizza with ricotta and spicy nduja, which certainly hit the mark.
To top it all off, we got a preview of the Fried Pizza is set to join Rossopomodoro’s menu this month. It might sound adventurous, but it’s a reflection of the street-food served in Naples and tastes as Italian as you can get. For £30 a head, with a three-course meal from a specially designed menu, punters will leave the restaurant with smiles all round and the desire to tell everyone all about their newfound pizza-making talents.
Words by Hannah Brandler