Santorine away: Paris

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We are two really very lucky sisters, it is impossible to deny it: we do a job that we love and above all that allows us to travel often around the world, to discover new cultures and landscapes, to get to know peoples, dialects and traditions, through food and its sharing, around a laid table or standing in a market, sitting on a cushion as well as on a bench in a park. And since what we see outside our beloved land actually tells us a lot about her, about what we are in the eyes of others, we thought that talking about what we see during our travels, we could help you to look with different lenses also the land in which you live every day.

First stop: Paris. Before leaving, we came across an old book by Nietzsche, which read more or less like this: "As an artist, a man has no other country in Europe than Paris". How to wrong him.

This city, in fact, smells of beauty and love, knows of poetry already starting from the sound of its language, romance and chocolate, tastes of sweets and love. But he also knows about Italy.

Gennaro Nasti, Neapolitan by birth and a citizen of the world of adoption, has a great passion that later became a profession: making pizza. After spending a few years between Spain and the United States, chef Nasti decided to stop under the Eiffel Tower, bewitched by its charm and its light and with only one challenge in his pocket: being able to make known the true Neapolitan pizza in France. He chose Popine, a small, well-kept place, with a post-industrial design with exposed red bricks, great tables of friendship where you can dine beside strangers, conviviality, smiles and an oven that warms the environment and hearts. Pizzas of the Neapolitan tradition, such as Montanara and Margherita, dedicated to the Queen, are created to perfection. The dough is made twice a week and left to rise for many, many hours - which has as a direct result the feeling of lightness and therefore the automatic choice to eat more than two per person. Then there are the brilliant pizzas, the result of sensitivity and continuous research by Gennaro, such as the one with the Bianchetti, the orange and the pepper, or the sweet one with cream of Piedmont hazelnuts and buffalo ricotta, and finally the one with provolone of the monk and the "ancient ragout": without meat, corbarino tomato cooked over a low heat for five hours and at the end a surprising and nostalgic flavor, which tastes of grandmothers and future together. In a short time, his pizza has managed to earn a place in the hearts of Parisians. The queue outside every night to ensure one of those 36 seats is very long and the most important French newspapers keep mentioning it.

Gennaro's pizza, made with flours of small Italian mills, topped with the best tomatoes of Piennolo and with ingredients chosen among many small artisans of cured meats, mozzarella and oil, is one of the last bastions of an industry that perhaps risks forget that every chef or maître is first of all a craftsman and an artist. This is his strength. The good pizza is for everyone, fine connoisseurs or simple great lovers and should be done well, otherwise it is just heavy and indigestible. His is wonderful. Michele Farnesi, on the other hand, is a Tuscan from Capannori, a very young chef and owner of the Dilia restaurant (dedicated to his grandparents Dino and Ilia), who opened a few months ago with so much courage in Paris, in the heart of the Belleville district. Very few seats and a very special cuisine. We dine at the stone counter, a splendid way to enjoy the chef's presence in the dining room and the view on the furnishings and the small wall-cellar. A tasting menu that is a journey of flavors and textures, where the chef mixes with irony the Italian origins to French learning, after the years spent between the kitchens of Massimo Bottura and Fulvio Siccardi and those of Heimat by Pierre Jancou and Sven Chartier al Saturne. Michele takes the place of the other great Italian away, Simone Tondo, who leaves his Roseval for a place of his own, which will open in days - and which we will talk about soon.

Here the inspiration of the chef takes shape with the cheese and pepper sold "by weight" (amazing, with a choice between 60-90-120 grams), the technically perfect pigeon, and the lacquered eel. The cuisine is shaped according to the gourmet art, certainly, but also combined with the pleasure of eating, which is sometimes forgotten. Who allows the best products of Puglia to be known and slowly conquer the demanding palates of the French cousins is the website of gastronomic e-commerce S.O.G.N.O. by Hetty De Vogel, Dutch by birth, Parisian for work and Pugliese for love. It is thanks his smile and his Fiat 500 if the work of many artisans of the most beautiful southern Italy, can get on the boards and in the most curious of Paris restaurants. We are curious to explore and then taste all the foods of the world, all tastes and flavors of other traditions, but being able to discover our flavors in the beating heart of Europe seemed simply fantastic.

If you go to Paris, then, do not miss the unmissable varieties of French cheeses, the wines of Burgundy and the oysters, but if even for a single moment you feel homesick, you feel like Italy and want to feel proud of our guys  abroad, remember these places and go there to get excited for us too.


Angela e Micaela Santoro #lesantorine  

Popine. 108, boulevard Ménilmontant, 75020. T. +33 (0)9 86 25 05 71  Dilia, 1, Rue D'eupatoria 75020 Paris T. +33 (0)9 53562414

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