viale Giuseppe Verdi, 64
23807 - Merate (Lecco)
«This is my home, my refuge, my school. Because this is where I grew up, at La Grotta Azzurra in Merate. As a kid, I worked as a waiter, made coffee, served beers. I would even climb on a pack of water bottles and stand on it, to reach the counter and make the balls of dough for the pizza. Everyone was expecting me to become a pizzaiolo», says Cristian Marasco. Born in 1978 near Lecco, he had Campanian origins and a destiny set in water and flour.
Cristian. Stubborn, obstinate, focused on raw materials. «I don’t think of myself as good. I simply try to do the best I can, every day. Without ever copying others, because I know I can make hundreds of things, always different. I’ve never liked being a number», he says. But he does handle large numbers in the three establishments all bearing the sunny name La Grotta Azzurra: in Merate, the historic location, serving over 300 people, opened in 1982 by his parents Crescenzio and Gigliola; in Bonate di Sopra, Bergamo; and in Garlate, overlooking the lake of Garlate.
Meanwhile he guards the fort in Merate, supported by his brother Mario (in the kitchen), his wife Patrizia and sister-in-law Simona (in the dining room). «But I take care of the dough, personally. Because until I have the will and passion to do this job, I’ll never delegate». His dough is direct, light and easy to digest. The result of a very long experience and of constant research as well as a “degree” from Molino Quaglia’s Università della Pizza in Vighizzolo d’Este. Indeed, Cristian enjoys studying. And enjoys a challenge too. Like that of prolonging leavening and maturation up to 96 hours. With the aid of water – neither too sweet nor too hard – from Merate and the sea salt from Trapani, a Slow Food Presidium. «Very little salt, because flavour in a pizza mustn’t come from the salt».
from Lombardy, she graduated in Literature and started working as a journalist. Then she changed direction, towards travels, food and wine. She now directs Fuori Magazine, the new editorial project of Petra-Molino Quaglia
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The speakers at Identità di Pizza 2021: from the top left corner, clockwise, Danilo Brunetti, Ilaria Puddu, Simone Padoan, Luca Pezzetta, Francesco Martucci, Pier Daniele Seu, Cristian Marasco, Ciro Oliva
Cristian Marasco behind the counter of his La Grotta Azzurra in Merate (Lecco)
The speakers at Identità di Pane e di Pizza, 16 masters of pizza under the spotlight, for eight very interesting lessons throughout the entire day on Monday 26th October in Sala Blu 2 at MiCo in Milan, always in collaboration with Petra® Molino Quaglia. From the top left corner: Ciro Oliva, Cesare Foschi, Christian Marasco, the Donne di Pizza Donne di Cuore, Simone Padoan, Friedrich Schmuck, Luca Pezzetta, Fabrizio Mancinetti, Francesco Martucci.
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