Stalin Bedon and Tom Grim, who own the Nomad Pizza Co. shops near South Street and in Hopewell, N.J., closed down, packed up, and flew themselves and longtime staff to Italy for a 10-day eating excursion. It's all about pizza. "We think it is important that our staff gets a taste of the food culture and have a point of reference for pizza," said Grim.
Today's entry is by server David Ulrich:
Day 4. Two by two, we rambled into the café of the Hotel Carrera this morning. If the bright orange walls weren’t enough to wake us up, there were a couple of promising coffee options.
As I approached the espresso machine, the hotel attendant could sense my confusion. He pointed to a carafe that read “espresso," then to a little espresso machine and said, “This one is long, and this one is strong”. I opted for strong and he pulled me a shot. Over breakfast, several of us decided that we hadn’t experienced enough of Napoli so we paid for an extra night in the same hotel.
After stashing our bags back into our rooms, we set off at 8:45am to catch our ride to the Mozzarella di Bufala farm.
It's Torre Lupara, where we at Nomad get our prized buffalo mozzarella.
Our ride to the farm turned out to be a very large white bus driven by a stylish young man with a pink sweater. We sprawled out in the nearly empty bus and watched the scenery turn from labyrinthine Napolitan back-alleys, to the haunting silhouette of Vesuvius, to green pastures and ancient grain silos.
After stopping a few times to ask for directions, we were finally on the right track to Torre Lupara.
Our first stop on the farm was the cheese factory. Through the glass, we watched some young Italian dudes make beautiful braids of mozzarella. We made our way through the freezer and the testing lab and then we were brought to meet the water buffalo.
Robb and Katie were in heaven. The water buffalo are large and calm with beautiful, dark coats. As we walked by them, their eyes would follow your gaze. Walking past a lineup of water buffalo, i looked each one in the eye... and they looked right back at me.
We hung around, taking pictures and soaking in the sun, and then we were escorted back to Alfredo's 's house. He's the proprietor and heir to the farm. Alfredo and our friendly translator Bernardo led us to the dining room where a beautiful table was set for a party of 20 or so.
These folks treated us to a bountiful lunch of prosciutto, wine, mozzarella di bufala (of course), pasta primavera and buffalo sausage (raised and produced by Alfredo's brother on a nearby water buffalo farm). After espresso and coffee gelato, we said our goodbyes to our hosts and got back on the bus.
So we are happy we decided to stay the night in Naples. It's a lively city with tiny streets, beautiful people and wild scooter traffic. We need just one more night.
Happy birthday to Peter, our traveling companion and trusted photographer.
Catch up on the trip
Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here
Part 3 is here
Part 4 is here
Part 5 is here
Part 6 is here
Part 7 is here
Part 8 is here