i took a break from living my after office-life in the vivid and oh-so-wonderful world of call of duty 4
and together with some friends i attended a seminar on bread and pizza dough making

organised at palazzo santa rosa
by claude camilleri
the one of margo's
showcasing the exploits of his new pizzaiolo giovanni

didnt actually learn to make the dough nor the pizza hands on
but probably that was a good thing seeing as it was a friday evening

we did get to experience even better things probably

a lot of passionate talking about bread and pizza

and a lot of tasting

overall the outing as an experience in itself
was even more so vivid than call of duty 4

we got to taste everything
from their house-made doughs to their house-smoked pork

cooked pizzas
and also
this buffalo mozzarella acquired from some obscure village in italy
giovanni's lifetime experience has brought him to boldly claim that there is no better mozzarella than this one
wait for it...

"...in the whole world!"

this was one of the few times i heard this cliché phrase uttered so genuinely

i forgot what the name of the village or the mozzarella brand was

so far as i could tell it was the best mozzarella i ever tasted


when we got there they immediately started talking about bread

they skipped the how-to's and the step-by-stepping

instead they made us taste everything
even the raw pastry

some from the audience including myself at different points tried to venture a question as to the flour to the water ratios...

all we got were cryptic:

"it depends on the weather...
...the humidity...
...the water..."

luckily the world we live in has a google backbone
and since i really wanted to make and bake my own sourdough bread...
i m now using these guidelines

they seem pretty easy to follow
and i hope that one day i will get to the level where i can gauge what ratios to use by acquiring a tiny bit of the experiential knack that giovanni seems to have

margo's pizza!
better than before
that's for sure

the other times i went
there was no qualm as to the truthfulness of the ingredients
and it definitely was a superb pizza
however those two times the base wasn't consistent

the first time it was fluffy and light
second time it was crunchier and fuller

this time the base was a wholesome crunchy piece of cereal perfection

both the wholemeal base (a new addition) and the mostly white-flour base allowed for the toppings to shine even more than the other two times

maybe it is the lack of yeast in the whole process
maybe its the loving care that giovanni gives to the doughs and to the actual pizza making

claude said that some italians told him that the best pizza in italy was to be found in malta at his margo's

i m not going to dispute or agree with anything
all i know is that claude's vision of bringing out the best out of the pizza
is surely happening down there in mistra bay

in addition to the office, the pool, and sniping terrorists
i am now also adding sourdough making to my eventful life
using the guidelines from that link and the inspiration from giovanni and claude

i sure like the idea of having a 'pet' in the fridge that i have to feed every know and again

of course enzymes are not as cuddly or friendly as dogs...
but i'll see where this goes

i m going to be expermenting with sourdough wholemeal bread making

claude and giovanni want to push the wholemeal stuff more
as they believe that this is the only way to get back to tradition and to healthier bread eating
and they have eliminated yeast completely from the process

i hate sounding like a marketeering fuckhead
but if you go to margo's you can now order wholemeal pizzas
which are not simply there for those healthy and conscious diners
going through some carb-concious fad
but is part of an improved artisan menu
and is closest to how people ate pizzas and breads before hitler failed miserably at conquering the world

sourdough yeast-free making and baking is a lengthier process
than the usual bread making with white flours and packaged yeast

it takes days to get good dough
and apparently although we know the maltese loaf as sourdough
it appears that along the way
the tradition of culturing a starter has been dropped in favor of using yeast as a separate ingredient

at the seminar they gave us 20 day old bread to taste
and although hard as rock
the original tastes where still present
it would be perfect for making bread puddings, maltese arioli, or pappa sauce

i used to think that the fact that bread stales and rots after a few days was a good thing
(as opposed to factory produced sliced bread that sometimes lasts weeks)
was completely wrong
the added yeast makes bread keep on fermenting at a faster rate
spoiling it within hours or days

off to teach my new pet some tricks

the end


Lindt Sprungli - Excellence 99%

i tried this 99% pure chocolate
from lindt

the short story is that i now think that any other dark chocolate with less percentage is exclusively for pussies

long story is that an earthquake of pleasure erupted in my mouth unleashing a dark magma of joyful bitterness that took over and fucked my taste-buds senseless

at least that was the first time i tasted it

now i eat it because not to eat doesn't feel right

me and lindt's 99% excellence
had love at first melt

chances are you won't like it

i ve evangalised around a bit
about it
some have liked it and most have not

it might be an acquired taste for some
for me it was a case of seeing the light and becoming an instant believer

lindt suggest that you don't eat it alone
that it should be an accompaniment to other tastes

i accompany it with more of itself to be honest

cos my taste buds are hardy that way

i also don't mind eating spoonfuls of marmite/vegemite and can eat the most horrible of foods
but then i can't stand wasabi and i can't inhale tobacco smoke for a long time
(despite my efforts to kick start the vice at the tender age of ten)
i'm also not a big fan of red hot chili peppers
(the capsicum, i quite like some of the band's stuff)

taste-buds can be a bitch of a thing

comment when or if you've tried it