Digestibility is all that matters

Simone Padoan: the choice of serving one pizza at a time, and in slices, is for healthier eating

23-09-2015
Simone Padoan, from Veneto, for twenty years at th

Simone Padoan, from Veneto, for twenty years at the helm of pizzeria I Tigli in San Bonifacio, the last town in the province of Verona before Vicenza. Padoan has always worked so that pizza would be treated with the same dignity as a fine dining dish

I found the debate about pizza currently taking place on the Identità Golose website interesting and I’m happy to present my point of view. Some people love the edge, the cornicione; some love the centre, the boccone del prete. When I started to offer pizza served in slices at I Tigli, exactly 20 years ago, I didn’t do it because I wanted to enhance one part of the most famous edible disc in the world instead of the other, but because I wanted to stop the avidity that has almost always characterised pizza eaters.

Let me explain myself: when sitting in front of a pizza, the primordial instinct is almost always to eat it quickly and get to the favourite part, which is usually saved for last, as fast as possible. By serving only one pizza at a time in slices at a table for 2, 3, 4, 6 or more people, on the one hand I invite people to share – an essential consumption ritual, as pointed out correctly – on the other hand I invite people to slow down the ceremony, because they become more modest and don’t want to “steal” a slice belonging to the person in front of them. This means people wait calmly for the following pizza, and appreciate the one they have in front of them more.

Pizza Verdure (tomato, fior di latte and mixed seasonal vegetables), currently in the menu in San Bonifacio, Via Camporosolo 11, tel. +39.045.6102606 (photo by Zanatta)

Pizza Verdure (tomato, fior di latte and mixed seasonal vegetables), currently in the menu in San Bonifacio, Via Camporosolo 11, tel. +39.045.6102606 (photo by Zanatta)

Slowing down the consumption of pizza means increasing the chewing time and hence its digestibility, a characteristic I believe is just as essential as flavour. I believe that in order to obtain a digestible product, you need the dough to be light. This, however, is not enough: you also need to intervene on the speed of consumption, so that the message saying “I’m full” will get faster from the stomach to the brain.

Pizza, therefore, must not be swallowed but chewed long enough, until one is full and not beyond. How long is the “right” amount of time? There’s no universal rule, one that suits everyone, you cannot establish the perfect chewing time: this varies depending on the dimension of each morsel and the size of the eater. The mission we have as pizza chefs, or at least my mission, is to discourage hasty eating as much as possible. In this way we can make the experience of a pizzeria become closer to that of a restaurant, which in the best case is a place where you taste dishes calmly and enjoy the evening eating in small morsels.

NOT JUST PIZZA. Padoan's great sweets: panettoni and pandolci

NOT JUST PIZZA. Padoan's great sweets: panettoni and pandolci

In other words, in my opinion the union of cuisine and pizza must go beyond ingredients, which of course must be extremely good and refined. But most of all we must lead clients to chew longer. And since we cannot go to each table and impose that people move their jaws slowly, to enjoy all the good aspects of pizza, we need to do it with gestures, with service. And I’m very happy that today this format is much more popular than it was twenty years ago.


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