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MASCOLI FROM POSITANO AMALFI COAST TO LONDON FOR THE BEST PIZZA IN ENGLAND WITH FRANCO MANCA foto

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MASCOLI FROM POSITANO AMALFI COAST TO LONDON FOR THE BEST PIZZA IN ENGLAND WITH FRANCO MANCA

(Giuseppe Mascoli è originario di Positano in Costiera amalfitana e ha rilevato questa pizzeria a  Briston Londra facendola divendare la più famosa d’Inghilterra recensita da Time Out, Metro ed altre riviste. Mascoli Lauree in Filosofia ed Economia ha lasciato il suo ruolo di assistene universitario alla London School of Economics per seguire la strada della ristorazione e dei giornali di cultura, ha fondato The Dawbridge, una rivista dove scrivono firme internazionali, da Eco a Salgado. Molti si ricordano il padre ingegner Giulio Mascoli compianto presidente dell’associazione Posidonia con la quale ha fatto innumerevoli battaglie ambientaliste per il paese) There’s a lot of hot air spouted about pizza and who invented it. Votes have been cast for Ancient Greece, Babylon and India (tomato-topped naan, why, of course!). Hell, even the Americans have attempted to stake a claim, blustering that it was nothing until they bloated its base, stuffed its crust and anointed it with everything from sweetcorn and spare ribs to caviar and chocolate. But I’m with the Neapolitans, who have been perfecting their craft for centuries, taking a few simple ingredients – dough, cheese, tomatoes, herbs – and turning them into an iconic feast. Certainly, they are pizza’s most passionate advocates. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Association of Real Neapolitan Pizza) has even set down rules to determine what makes the grade and what doesn’t. And boy, are they draconian: the flour has to be type 0 or 00 (strong flour with a high-protein content); the pizza must be hand-formed, not machine-made or even rolled; it must be cooked at temperatures above 485°C in a wood-fired oven for no more than 90 seconds. RELATED ITEMS Book a table There are even guidelines about the application of the olive oil. And those are just the basics; when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s a wonder more pizzaioli don’t just give up and open KFC franchises. Enter Giuseppe Mascoli, expat Neapolitan and pizza lover (also club owner and indie publication proprietor), determined to bring the real deal to London. The effort he has undertaken to achieve this, while keeping a gimlet eye on organic provenance and artisan production, is little short of dizzying. Given that his chosen outlet is a no-frills, rickety joint seating only a handful of pizza lovers in the funky confines of trotter-and-yam-tastic Brixton Market, it’s clear that this genuinely is that most overused of descriptions – a labour of love. Check this out: he has imported a mozzarella expert from the southern Italian Appenines to induct the cheesemakers of Alham Wood Farm in Somerset, one of the only water buffalo farms in Britain, into the arcane art of mozzarella making. Wine, a rich, purply and heady Dolcetto or pale frisky Cortese, is produced at the organic Italian farm that also supplies their specially milled flour. (An aside: the restaurant charges £6.50 a bottle. Yes, a bottle. A glass costs £1.20. It makes you want to weep.) He helped finance a small finca in order to start harvesting and producing organic olives. Most excitingly, Mascoli turned to pizza expert Marco Parente, guru of the imposing and rather gorgeous wood-burning oven, which blasts the pizzas at a ferocious 500°C. He describes Marco as ‘a sort of Indiana Jones of criscito’. This is the magic ingredient: the starter or ‘mother’, a fragile, living organism that creates the prized sourdough. Parente has managed to, um, ‘acquire’ a rare culinary treasure, a batch of 200-year-old ‘mother’ from a secret source in Ischia. Given that it’s Neapolitan and a couple of centuries old, Mascoli says it’s something of ‘a grumpy, temperamental f***er’, (or should that actually be motherf***er?) requiring constant feeding and rampant quantities of TLC. Apparently, it took quite a few months of experimentation to tame the beast but results are little short of spectacular. One of the most stringent of the Associazione’s rules governs the length of time the dough is allowed to rise: a minimum of six hours. At Franco Manca, it’s left to do its alchemical thang for at least 20 hours. When subjected to the fierce heat, it becomes pliable, yielding to the tooth and surprisingly light. It’s soft and seductively fleshy rather than crispy, with none of the stodge of its inferior cousins. The cornicione, the topping-free pizza edge prized by Neapolitans as the defining part of the pizza, is pillowy and air-filled, with delicious little charred blisters. Toppings are utterly simple: a sauce of chopped organic tomatoes with a little salt and that buffalo mozzarella, maybe some wild mushrooms, or fluffy, cloud-like buffalo ricotta, or a duo of organic chorizos, wet and dry, from Brindisa in Exmouth Market. There are only six choices. There’s no fizzy water, only (free) filtered tap or organic home-made lemonade, and no sacrilegious cappuccinos. This simplicity is part of what makes the place so endearing. Open only during the day, Franco Manca was another close contender for our rare five stars. The slightly leathery quality of the mozzarella let it down (but they’ve produced the cheese for a few months, so they’re getting there). It’s a brilliant little place, ridiculously cheap – the dearest pizza is £5.60 – and more than filling the boots of the much-loved Franco’s, which used to occupy the bijou space (hence Franco Manca: ‘Franco’s not here’). But Franco used an electric pizza oven, so pah! Could this be the best pizza outside of Naples? Quite possibly? A meal for two with wine, water and tip costs about £20. (Yes, £20.) Unit 4, Market Row, Brixton Market SW9. Tel: 020 7738 3021. Tube: Brixton

 

There’s a lot of hot air spouted about pizza and who invented it. Votes have been cast for Ancient Greece, Babylon and India (tomato-topped naan, why, of course!). Hell, even the Americans have attempted to stake a claim, blustering that it was nothing until they bloated its base, stuffed its crust and anointed it with everything from sweetcorn and spare ribs to caviar and chocolate. But I’m with the Neapolitans, who have been perfecting their craft for centuries, taking a few simple ingredients – dough, cheese, tomatoes, herbs – and turning them into an iconic feast. Certainly, they are pizza’s most passionate advocates. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Association of Real Neapolitan Pizza) has even set down rules to determine what makes the grade and what doesn’t. And boy, are they draconian: the flour has to be type 0 or 00 (strong flour with a high-protein content); the pizza must be hand-formed, not machine-made or even rolled; it must be cooked at temperatures above 485°C in a wood-fired oven for no more than 90 seconds. RELATED ITEMS Book a table There are even guidelines about the application of the olive oil. And those are just the basics; when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s a wonder more pizzaioli don’t just give up and open KFC franchises. Enter Giuseppe Mascoli, expat Neapolitan and pizza lover (also club owner and indie publication proprietor), determined to bring the real deal to London. The effort he has undertaken to achieve this, while keeping a gimlet eye on organic provenance and artisan production, is little short of dizzying. Given that his chosen outlet is a no-frills, rickety joint seating only a handful of pizza lovers in the funky confines of trotter-and-yam-tastic Brixton Market, it’s clear that this genuinely is that most overused of descriptions – a labour of love. Check this out: he has imported a mozzarella expert from the southern Italian Appenines to induct the cheesemakers of Alham Wood Farm in Somerset, one of the only water buffalo farms in Britain, into the arcane art of mozzarella making. Wine, a rich, purply and heady Dolcetto or pale frisky Cortese, is produced at the organic Italian farm that also supplies their specially milled flour. (An aside: the restaurant charges £6.50 a bottle. Yes, a bottle. A glass costs £1.20. It makes you want to weep.) He helped finance a small finca in order to start harvesting and producing organic olives. Most excitingly, Mascoli turned to pizza expert Marco Parente, guru of the imposing and rather gorgeous wood-burning oven, which blasts the pizzas at a ferocious 500°C. He describes Marco as ‘a sort of Indiana Jones of criscito’. This is the magic ingredient: the starter or ‘mother’, a fragile, living organism that creates the prized sourdough. Parente has managed to, um, ‘acquire’ a rare culinary treasure, a batch of 200-year-old ‘mother’ from a secret source in Ischia. Given that it’s Neapolitan and a couple of centuries old, Mascoli says it’s something of ‘a grumpy, temperamental f***er’, (or should that actually be motherf***er?) requiring constant feeding and rampant quantities of TLC. Apparently, it took quite a few months of experimentation to tame the beast but results are little short of spectacular. One of the most stringent of the Associazione’s rules governs the length of time the dough is allowed to rise: a minimum of six hours. At Franco Manca, it’s left to do its alchemical thang for at least 20 hours. When subjected to the fierce heat, it becomes pliable, yielding to the tooth and surprisingly light. It’s soft and seductively fleshy rather than crispy, with none of the stodge of its inferior cousins. The cornicione, the topping-free pizza edge prized by Neapolitans as the defining part of the pizza, is pillowy and air-filled, with delicious little charred blisters. Toppings are utterly simple: a sauce of chopped organic tomatoes with a little salt and that buffalo mozzarella, maybe some wild mushrooms, or fluffy, cloud-like buffalo ricotta, or a duo of organic chorizos, wet and dry, from Brindisa in Exmouth Market. There are only six choices. There’s no fizzy water, only (free) filtered tap or organic home-made lemonade, and no sacrilegious cappuccinos. This simplicity is part of what makes the place so endearing. Open only during the day, Franco Manca was another close contender for our rare five stars. The slightly leathery quality of the mozzarella let it down (but they’ve produced the cheese for a few months, so they’re getting there). It’s a brilliant little place, ridiculously cheap – the dearest pizza is £5.60 – and more than filling the boots of the much-loved Franco’s, which used to occupy the bijou space (hence Franco Manca: ‘Franco’s not here’). But Franco used an electric pizza oven, so pah! Could this be the best pizza outside of Naples? Quite possibly? A meal for two with wine, water and tip costs about £20. (Yes, £20.) Unit 4, Market Row, Brixton Market SW9. Tel: 020 7738 3021. Tube: Brixton

 

 

The Drawbridge is a full-colour broadsheet newspaper. Published quarterly, it provides a vehicle for both new and established writers – fiction and non-fiction – as well as illustrators, photographers and artists to address a different theme topic each issue. Text for an article about scale for an upcoming book on art direction edited by Steve Heller. The initial idea for The Drawbridge’s format grew out of discussions with its publisher, Giuseppe Mascoli, and its editor, Bigna Pfenninger. Choosing a large broadsheet was an antidote to the conventions of the contemporary literary magazine. But we didn’t only want to be bigger than our peer magazines; we also wanted to be broader in scope. So we carry writing from philosophers (Slavoj Zizek, Noam Chomsky), politicians (Gerry Adams, Hugo Chavez), historians (Eric Hobsbawm) as well contemporary fiction by authors ranging from Isabel Allende to Irvine Welsh. On the front page of our current issue we have a specially commissioned music score composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto. We wanted to engage the intelligent reader in the text but also make the paper a visual treat. From the outset we intended to give equal space and billing to image-makers and writers. Contributors are simply given the theme of the issue and asked to respond – the brief is no tighter than that. For illustrators especially, this is a great chance to express themselves on a bigger canvas than commercial commissions normally allow. Paul Davis and Millie Simpson, who work as Drawings Editor and Photography Editor respectively, should take the credit for getting in some brilliant images. We were very conscious that most contemporary newspapers were heading in the opposite direction, leaving the broadsheet format behind, which made it more attractive to us. Though it was in no way a reactionary move on our part. I had worked on a few newspaper redesigns where publishers were downsizing their papers, which drew my attention to their former larger scale. They had hardly ever used their size advantage unless there was a really big news story, so the opportuntity had usually been wasted. Only the advertisers used the format to their advantage and benefited from the impact of full-page imagery. In terms of layout The Drawbridge is quite a puzzle to put together and the constraints are different to standard newspaper layouts. Many of our texts, for instance, are short stories and cannot be cut in length. We try never to crop imagery and there are only two headline sizes to play with. So even though the pages are big, they are rather inflexible. Obviously in proportional terms the display typography will occupy less area on the page than with a smaller format, for example a 36pt headline on a broadsheet page as opposed to a 36pt headline on a A4 page. When you are designing on a screen at a reduced scale, you are tempted to enlarge the article headlines for greater impact. Yet, in fact, more restrained typography makes the scale of the illustrative material stand out more distinctly due to the contrast. The very meaning of the word ‘graphic’ is an effect resulting from contrasts: light and dark, thick and thin, big and small. Contrast is a fundamental visual tool. Illustration is a lot less flexible and more difficult to use at a bigger scale than photography is, because you have to allow for the size of the original. Illustrations have to be specifically commissioned for our double page spread slot (e.g. Paul Davis in issue 4). In photography the only original is reality. The majority of photographic imagery we use – no matter how big we reproduce it – is a reduction in scale of what it depicts. Take a look through any newspaper, and the same will be true. So you have a lot more scope in using contrasting scales with photography and I’d like to explore this further in future issues. The impact of our large format amongst both readers and contributors has been very positive. Of course it creates problems for distribution, some bookshops find it awkward, shelves don’t cater for oversize publications, but I think this is far outweighed by its distinctiveness and the loyalty of its increasing number of fans. SC, June 2008 Nominated in Design Week’s ‘Hot Fifty Hot Fifty People/Things Making a Difference in Design’. 29.02.08 “In this age of on-line blogs, it is refreshing to see an independent magazine that gives good copy on a mix of cultural and social issues and blends it with great art direction

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