Sunday, October 06, 2013

Mangare Bene: Pizza

To eat well.

Eating well is definitely a perk when visiting Italy and it’s hard to eat better than a pizza! For a thin crust lover like me, Italy is a treasure trove of deliciousness. The pizzerias are plentiful (in my area they are HUGE spaces!) with a million toppings and cheeses to choose from. It usually takes me a good 10-15 minutes to decide which pizza I want from the 2-inch thick menu.

The other night we were craving pizza but didn’t want to make it ourselves and our favorite “da asporto” (take-away/delivery) pizza place was closed for vacation, so we decided to go out.  This time we went to a pizzeria called Hugel Keller in Montegrotto Terme (near Padova, in Veneto). The name Hugel Keller basically means “Cellar of the Hills” in German (there are a lot of German tourist in this area) and the name is fitting - from the expanse of wood used in the décor to the list of beers it serves. The menu is extensive with a ton of pizza options and a very friendly staff.  There are small intimate tables and HUGE tables that seat about 20, both indoors and outdoors. The atmosphere is casual and cozy, and the pizza is delicious.

On this particular night, I decided to get a pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Chiodini mushrooms (don’t know the American equivalent to these but they are good), and salamino picante, which is kind of like pepperoni in America. S. got a pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, porcini mushrooms and speck, which is an air-dried lightly smoked ham.  Both pizzas came out bubbling hot and oh my, were they good. The crust is crisp and flavorful, the salamino spicy, the cheese abundant but not too much so - Italians are wizards at what I like to call “abundant moderation”; they put just enough ingredients on/in things without going overboard. I have yet to learn that skill. Accompany all that with an ice cold coke (or beer if you prefer) and the sublime is attained. (sorry the lighting is not great in the pics below)

My pizza
S. Pizza

The pizzeria has been open for 20+ years and was one of the first restaurants I ever went to in Italy, way back when S and I were dating. I remember the place clearly as it had a big “Don’t Mess with Texas” sticker on the front door, which was highly amusing for this Texan. It was such a random find, who would’ve thought? Sadly, the sticker is gone now as they have expanded and remodeled over the years. BUT, one thing still remains – the pizza is cheesy, hot and outstanding!

Pizzeria Hugel Keller
Via Caposeda 24
Montegrotto Terme, Province of Padova
049 793482

More later…

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