Nomad in Italy: Must-stops for pizza

Waiter delivers to the table at Da Baffetto.

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 Grim.



Part 6. The weather has been beautiful. Sunny and in the 50s. Al fresco dining everywhere with patio heaters. I am really surprised at how many eat outside when it isn't balmy weather. Eating, drinking wine, having a beer. I guess everyone has spring fever.

Nomad won't have outside seating until April.

As a must stop in Rome we got pizza at Forno at Piazza Campo de' Fiori. Campo de' Fiori is a bustling piazza with a daily farmers and craft market. Everyone seems to love this pizza. It's crispy, chewy, oily and very light on toppings. It's easy to eat while walking or sitting at the nearby fountain. It is made like a focaccia. The dough rises in big batches, which are then transferred to 6-foot peels. The bakers spread out the bubbly dough, punch it down with their fingers and brush oil on top. The most basic pizza is the bianca, which is dough, oil and salt. We ordered a tomato sauce pizza and a tomato with mozzarella. A mob of customers at the small counter orders various size pieces. The clerk cuts the pizza with a knife, weighs and prices it. It is quickly wrapped in brown paper. Take out only. No napkins. No pizza cutters.

Da Baffetto is another legendary pizzeria that makes a 12-inch round, very thin, rolled with a dowel crust. This is an extremely busy pizzeria with a line waiting to get in. We were lucky and only waited 5 minutes. This is our third 'Roman' style pizzeria. The first was the Morgue, which I thought was substandard. Then Monte Carlo, which was better. Most of us liked Da Baffetto more than the others, but some disagreed. The arugula salad was very good with delicious parmesan on top.

Tomorrow we are visiting our Parmesan supplier in Northern Italy near Modena. It's two hours north on the fast train, then a short slow train, and then a taxi. I'm certain they will treat us to a 3-hour lunch like our other suppliers have. It seems to be the way Italians host visitors.

We are all looking forward to that trip.


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