I grew up in Sicily next door to Lillo Sortino. Our families had dinner together every Sunday.
After I moved to the U.S., we lost touch. Imagine my surprise, then, when decades later, I received a missed call from Lillo. You’d think I’d have called him back. But, I was busy with my restaurant and had just about every excuse in the world not to return his call. Even when he called again and again and again. Sorry, Lillo.
When we finally connected, Lillo – who’s been a food-lover all his life – was excited to tell me about a product called Pinsa Romana. He described it as a “healthier pizza dough” and thought I’d be interested in bringing it to my restaurant in Wisconsin.
Lillo Sortino, what can you possibly teach me about pizza that I don’t already know, I thought. With my 25+ years’ experience in the restaurant industry and the fact that my father had been making pizza dough for over sixty years, I was pretty confident there was nothing this guy could teach me.
Fortunately for me, Lillo was persistent.
When he heard that my father and I were visiting our hometown in Sicily, he showed up at the front door, and – as Sicilians do – made himself at home. He popped two oval crusts into the oven, topped them margarita-style, and within minutes, I had my first taste of Pinsa Romana.
With its crispy, cloud-like crust and high flavor profile, it truly was love at first bite.
I proceeded to learn everything I could about this revolutionary product. The next time I returned to Italy, it was because Lillo wanted to introduce me to his friends, the Di Marco family.
Renowned Italian culinary expert Corrado Di Marco invested over a decade rediscovering and refining the Roman ingredient, Pinsa Romana. His product is held in the highest regard among chefs because, not only is it a perfect blend of flour, it’s an ancient grain free of genetically modified components. Culinary expert Di Marco understood the importance of culture and community surrounding a product, so he ensured that his grains were grown specifically for Pinsa Romana and Teglia Romana.
The Di Marco family is everything anyone needs to know about Pinsa Romana and Teglia Romana in order to believe in the authenticity and genuineness of the products. They truly respect these revolutionary blends into which Corrado Di Marco poured a decade’s worth of time and mastery. Although they had several offers on the table to bring it to the United States, they didn’t want to hand it off to just anyone. Knowing my connection to the products, Lillo put in a good word for me. And four trips to Italy later, the Di Marco family entrusted me to introduce Pinsa Romana and Teglia Romana to the U.S.
It’s been years since that first missed call from Lillo. Now, he and I are partners in Pinsa Romana America. We’ve come together to train and educate people on the craft and benefits of bringing Pinsa Romana and Teglia Romana to their menu.
They say that timing is everything, and that our friendships shape our future. Well, I guess for me, the proof is in the pinsa.