The new Pummà in Milan

Beniamino Bilali arrived from Emilia Romagna with his latest pizza project and two important collaborations

11-04-2018

Beniamino Bilali with gastronomist and food critic Andrea Grignaffini at the end of an extraordinary tasting at Pummà Milano

Beniamino Bilali has origins rooted in Durres in Albania. Born in 1985, he stood out in San Patrignano’s pizzeria in Coriano, Romagna. Then he established himself in 2010 in the first of the many excellent Berberè pizzerias that Matteo Aloe opened over the years – the one in Castel Maggiore, off Bologna. Today, after various experiences, including Norway, Bilali is the soul of Pummà, four restaurants, three in Italy, Milano Marittima, Bologna and Milan, and one in Ibiza.

The one in Milan, at 7 Via Caminadella, in the Cesare Correnti area, opened in the autumn and is now finding its right, high quality and complete balance. It’s an ambitious project and it’s nice to hear that he’s recently hired Matteo Tambini, founder at O Fiore mio, as his consultant – another nice establishment in Romagna where Bilali gave his contribution in the start-up phase.

When you arrive at Pummà’s in Milan, there’s a first counter and then behind it an oven with a worktop for the pizzaioli at work with a table against the facing wall so you can look at every gesture they make. There are two dining rooms: a smaller one to the right, overlooking the street – my favourite one – and a second, much larger one at the back, without natural light.

Bilali, a master of dough, presents three types: classic (with tender wheat flour type 2), terracolta with an Antonio Cera selection and hydrolysis with broken wheat, the latter two requiring a complicated process. «Today my efforts are all focused on pizza, on raw materials, - said Beniamino - on the capacity of giving each product a specific role. My goal is to work on tradition, free it from approximate rituals and get a better understanding of it. For me, this urgency to understand and protect it is a matter of love, of becoming aware of this marvellous wisdom. This is perhaps the only way to make it modern, without changing it. It’s a difficult road, where everything is questioned, but everything is also real, with greater and greater focus and precision».

A slice of pizza Bufalina: "Terra Amore e Fantasia" San Marzano  tomato, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, fresh basil. Hydrolysis dough and, to finish, the lovely Apulian extra virgin olive oil Intini, fruttato 2017

A slice of pizza Bufalina: "Terra Amore e Fantasia" San Marzano  tomato, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, fresh basil. Hydrolysis dough and, to finish, the lovely Apulian extra virgin olive oil Intini, fruttato 2017

In the menu, after the list of selected olive oils, there are classic, golose, spring and Neapolitan pizzas, the latter only made with a classic dough. And among the Neapolitan ones, my favourite pairing by far is the one with tuna and onions, which at Pummà is called Tonno e Tropea, with fiordilatte mozzarella, sweet and sour onion from Tropea, taggiasche olives, fresh marinated tuna, stir fried shallot and fresh oregano.

Bilali instead, as a paradigm of his work, sponsors Bufalina: «It’s the essence of our idea that both the products of the earth and a guaranteed supply chain must be the focus of every gastronomic project. The desire to make the most authentic farmers’ language more contemporary. This is why wheat must be the focus of the pizzaiolo’s thoughts. We joined Antonio Cera’s project and Grani Futuri in the countryside of Foggia, a direct and sincere link between bakers, pizzaioli and farmers who speak, meet and share ideas. 

«This resulted in a dough with “Senatore Cappelli” durum wheat, stone milled type 1 flour and burnt wheat flour. As for tomatoes, we selected the best available on the market, produced by Sabato Abagnale which tends to be sweet, and I believe has no match. As for buffalo milk mozzarella, it’s fantastic». It comes from north Caserta, from Caseificio Il Casolare. It’s fresh, sapid and crispy. It arrives in Milan daily, thanks to the fact other famous colleagues of his order it too.

«Finally, extra virgin olive oil. People don’t speak enough about it but we believe it’s an important topic. Pummà collaborates with high quality small producers who have revolutionised the Italian scene thanks to their continuous discoveries.

No other country has such a huge variety of cultivars as Italy, so oil can easily become a pure symbol of local identities. We work hard so that people can discover them, we promote them and try to give them the importance they deserve. It’s an effort, but it also offers a chance to speak of a good Italy that grows and offers a future to its most ancient values».

Season after season, there’s also a tribute to the places where the various Pummà, are shining, each having its exclusive recipe, in Milano Marittima, Bologna and Milan. Right now, in the latter, there’s Una Bontà: sweet and soft Gorgonzola, onion braised in wine and Java pepper. 

Fiordilatte gelato from Fiorentini in Faenza and extra virgin olive oil: pure pleasure 

Fiordilatte gelato from Fiorentini in Faenza and extra virgin olive oil: pure pleasure 

In the words of Bilali: «There’s no special effect. No desire to surprise at all costs. Neat and clear flavours. Pizza must be the overall winner». Words of wisdom.

Useful info: Pummà Milano, Via Caminadella 7, tel. +39.02.91326066, e-mail milano@pumma.pizza. Prices: Classiche 12.5/14.5 euros; Golose 14/18; Spring 13/15 and Neapolitan 9/15. Service fee 2.5 euros. Always open in the evening, closed at lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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