27/09/2005 - 22:00

Tradition upheld at Delizioso

27/09/2005 - 22:00

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Subiaco's Delizioso Cafe has made a name for itself on the national stage, finishing second in ‘Best of the Best’ pizza competition at the Fine Food exhibition in Sydney.

Tradition upheld at Delizioso

Subiaco's Delizioso Cafe has made a name for itself on the national stage, finishing second in ‘Best of the Best’ pizza competition at the Fine Food exhibition in Sydney.

Delizioso owner and chief pizza artisan Raffaele Brotzu won the right to represent Western Australia after his pizza was named best in the state at the Wine and Food Festival held at the Convention Centre earlier in the year.

In the national competition Mr Brotzu finished second, narrowly beaten by his Sydney counterpart.

The pizza competition was part of the Fine Food exhibition, a travelling jamboree of food, wine and hospitality purveyors.

The event, which is due in Perth in mid October, usually attracts up to 900 exhibitors.

And while Mr Brotzu is disappointed not to have been crowned Australian pizza champion, he says just being at the event was a valuable opportunity to see the level at which the WA food scene compares.

“In the eastern states there so many more products available,” he says.

“In Perth, the market is still quite young and there are very limited imports.”

As an example he cites buffalo mozzarella, a prized gourmet cheese made from the milk of buffalo. Mr Brotzu says availability and quality of the product in WA is not on a scale comparable to that in Melbourne or Sydney.

The cheese, which was used extensively during the national pizza competition, is highly sought after for its rich taste and aroma.

Mr Brotzu says his success will help him continue to dispel the myths about pizza.

The dominance of American pizza chains in Australia has distorted the image of pizza as it is understood in Italy.

In fact, he says, the chain outlets have made the task of producing artisan Italian pizza in this country more difficult.

But in the two years he has sliced and served his traditional fare, Mr Brotzu believes Perth pizza consumers have broadened their horizons and embraced this ‘new product’ that is steeped in history.

Delizioso makes pizza for an average of 150 people a day and is recognised for offering pizza al taglio – pizza by the slice.

Large rectangle pizzas are made and then sliced as needed, conforming to the centuries-old tradition of selling pizza on the streets of Italy.

“I still get asked for Hawaiian and super supreme, though, and why I don’t make round pizzas,” Mr Brotzu says.

“It is because sometimes in life you are presented with the easy way and the hard way. Sure, I could just put pineapple on my pizza but I’m not going to, out of principle. I keep to the real way.”

The shape of the pizza is not the only point of difference of Delizioso’s pizza, says Mr Brotzu, who learned to make pizza base from a dual world pizza champion in Rome.

He perfected this art during his studies at one of Italy’s two pizza schools – scuola di formazione per pizzaioli – the Professional Pizza School of Italy.

And there is a degree of science baked into Mr Brotzu’s wares. His bases use a unique enzymatic process involving less yeast than conventional dough. Less yeast means dough rises in the fridge instead of after it has been eaten, taking away that bloated feeling.

Mr Brotzu says he has always believed in the medicinal uses of pizza, and quotes an article recently published in a major Italian newspaper about the positive health benefits of eating pizza.

Rejecting the unhealthy image pizza is often associated with, the article argued that pizzas that include powerful antioxidants like tomatoes and vegetables can have a positive effect on overall health.

The success of Delizioso in Subiaco has prompted Mr Brotzu to consider plans to expand. He is currently scouring locations, including Fremantle, Mt Lawley and the CBD.

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