In search of the perfect pizza
Water, flour and tomato sauce – the formula for the perfect pizza mights seem simple. But the story behind ZeroZero, a pizzeria that has just opened in the Time Out Market, shows that the secret is in how the dough is made, but also the ingredients, the water, the firewood – in short, in every tiny detail. In all the businesses that Rui Sanches has been involved in there is always a period of investigation that lasts more or less time. Before opening a pizzaria in Lisbon that could surprise locals and impress any Italian pizzaiolo, Sanches went in search of the best. “With pizzas the same thing is happening that has already happened with bread,” Sanches says. By that he means the emergence of a whole movement seeking to recreate the way that bread used to be made in the past – without industrial yeast and using richer flours and longer fermentation periods. That is what Sanches was looking for when ZeroZero was just an idea. He set off for Italy to seek out people were were doing things differently and better, and came across Graziano Bertuzzo, one of the most respected pizzaiolos at the moment, who is in the vanguard of the movement. From this interchange arose the choice of flours and techniques to be used in the future pizzas – in other words a large part of the formula for ZeroZero’s success. It starts with the ’00’ high-protein flour that is ground slowly on stone, and which gives the place its name. To work this mix of top-quality flours Sanches opted for an old rural dough-making process (dubbed poolish) that involves a double fermentation. In the first phase the dough ferments for 14 hours at 21ºC, and in the second phase for 48 hours at 4ºC, resulting in a lighter, more easily digested dough. “This whole process obliges you to start preparing the dough working well ahead,” explains Sanches. “In reality the dough ends up maturing for much, much longer, with the customer being the winner.” The water used in the pizzas is also corrected, being put through a process of inverse osmosis to give it a neutral pH and remove any odours. The same philosophy is applied with the cheeses and cured meats used in the pizzas: they are also the result of research on the ground, and meticulous selection. They all boast a Protected Original Denomination or Protection Geographic Indication and come from small producers in Italy’s Venetto region. Even the organic tomato sauce comes from Italy, from the top tomato-producing region. Finally, a wood-burning stove 1.7 metres in diameter that can cook 10 pizzas at once is fired using holm oak, which gives the pizza an even more special aroma. “We have managed to recreate the ambience of ZeroZero here in the Market,” says Sanches. “The oven is the same, as well as the marble tops and the copper light fittings; even the firewood is stored in the same way. ZeroZero has brought into the Time Out Market some of the best-selling pizzas from the restaurant in Príncipe Real – both classics and specials – such as the Diavola, the Salsiccia, the Provola Affumicatta and the Prosciutto crudo di Parma 18 mesi e funghi, among others. Depending on the season there may be new arrivals – such as the fig pizza that will come on stream as soon as that fruit is at its best. And just as the restaurant in Príncipe Real hosted the city’s first proseccheria, here there is also Prosecco on tap. To end your meal in true Italian style there is a gianduia mousse and a panacotta with berries.