Officine del Cibo, pizza meets the cuisine of Liguria

Discovering the restaurant of Giacomo Devoto. He tests techniques and toppings, offering also some interesting tastings that blend tradition and modernity

23-04-2021
A slice of the pizza

A slice of the pizza "all'antica", or sardenaria, or "all'Andrea", or piscialandrea whatever you prefer: this is one of the delicacies offered at Officine del Cibo in Sarzana. Photos from Stefano Caffarri

Enthusiastic, passionate, cheerful. Having a chat with Giacomo Devoto in hard times is almost therapeutic; it's like a wisp of fresh air on a hot summer day.

Giacomo Devoto

Giacomo Devoto

Pizza with artichokes from Albenga and pancetta. The technique is the true Neapolitan one, «260 g of dough with a long maturation... The question here is blending Neapolitan tradition with local products from Liguria»

Pizza with artichokes from Albenga and pancetta. The technique is the true Neapolitan one, «260 g of dough with a long maturation... The question here is blending Neapolitan tradition with local products from Liguria»

You can immediately feel the positive, infectious energy. The energy that has brought him, after acquiring lots of experience, to give life to a very ambitious project that aims to give value to his land on the border, Lunigiana (the ancient region that used to spread from Piacenza to Versilia), through excellent raw materials, respect for cooking techniques and some happy personal intuitions. «My career started in Sarzana with a rather long internship at Locanda dell’Angelo between 1998 and 1999. I then continued in Valle d’Aosta, where at the age of 20 I bought Champoluc, a chalet on the ski slopes, Baita Belvedere. This was the turning point that I needed, because I acquired much more responsibilities, and learnt everything in the field. This journey lasted thirteen years during which I became a small chef and patron, bringing fine dining to the mountain tops. I then left the helm to the people I had trained and decided I wanted to convey what I had learnt to my homeland, Lunigiana, a land that is very important to me».

Pizza in the pan with yellow cherry tomatoes, prosciutto cotto selezione Branchi, smoked provola and caramelised onion 

Pizza in the pan with yellow cherry tomatoes, prosciutto cotto selezione Branchi, smoked provola and caramelised onion 

This is how Officine del Cibo, gourmet pizzeria and creative lab was born. Here inspiration is transformed into reality, giving shape to new ideas, thanks also to the skilled pizzaiolo Giuseppe Messina. The questions was: how to match the real Neapolitan pizza (Officine del Cibo is brand ambassador of the Associazione verace pizza napoletana) with the typical ingredients of Liguria? The quest was made possible thanks to a farm owned by the chef. «I'm a cook and agricultural entrepreneur too. We have our courtyard animals, fine eggs, vegetables and oil, so it's already quite enough to create a menu. As for the dairy products, we work with tiny producers. We are located in a special place, a region by the sea, but full of mountains too; so we have some unique cheeses that change when shepherds move in the summer». 

Pizza sardenaria, also known as "Pizza all'Andrea" as it's dedicated to Andrea Doria. It's «a modern dough with an ancient recipe. We use Petra 9, hence whole wheat, to make full use of the qualities of the sugar and soften the yeast. Instead of that, we use maturation». This is a "Ligurian style pan", («In Nice, they call it pissaladière»), which is special because there's also some milk. On top, a sauce given by precooked San Marzano tomatoes with onions, taggiasche olives, anchovies from Levante or Cetara, capers from Salina and mountain oregano 

Pizza sardenaria, also known as "Pizza all'Andrea" as it's dedicated to Andrea Doria. It's «a modern dough with an ancient recipe. We use Petra 9, hence whole wheat, to make full use of the qualities of the sugar and soften the yeast. Instead of that, we use maturation». This is a "Ligurian style pan", («In Nice, they call it pissaladière»), which is special because there's also some milk. On top, a sauce given by precooked San Marzano tomatoes with onions, taggiasche olives, anchovies from Levante or Cetara, capers from Salina and mountain oregano 

Steamed pizza with Paolo Petrilli tomatoes, chlorophyll sauce, cream of burrata and smoked oil. «It's a small innovation on Margherita» with a different dough and, in this photo, without tomato

Steamed pizza with Paolo Petrilli tomatoes, chlorophyll sauce, cream of burrata and smoked oil. «It's a small innovation on Margherita» with a different dough and, in this photo, without tomato

The best part of the pizza

The best part of the pizza

Fried calzone Napoli-Modena

Fried calzone Napoli-Modena

The mini-Neapolitan-pizzas, the last tasting with a topping that changes each time 

The mini-Neapolitan-pizzas, the last tasting with a topping that changes each time 

At Officine del Cibo the first pizza to taste is Margherita; they use between 4 and 7 varieties of tomatoes with unique features that make the result always different. «We have three departments: Neapolitan pizza verace, pizza in the pan and steamed pizza. The most complete menu is Ti raccontiamo la nostra pizza, which offers every interpretation in five pizzas». Here are the pizzas in order of appearance: pizza Sardenaria, with a strong Ligurian character; Steamed pizza (inspired by Renato Boscowith Paolo Petrilli tomato, chlorophyll sauce, cream of burrata and smoked oil; The best part of the pizza, a provocation against those who leave the edge, «we serve the edge of a pizza, in the shape of a cannellone filled with ingredients inspired by our grandmothers' pantries in Liguria»; a take on the classic fried calzone; a Marinara mini-pizza  «with garlic from Vessalico and our oregano served with sour cream or cream of burrata».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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