Denis Lovatel's pizzas at the Rosa Alpina restaurant
It all started with a phone call from Norbert Niederkofler, chef at the St. Hubertus restaurant, in charge of the culinary offering at the Rosa Alpina Hotel. Together with the Pizzinini family, he chose master pizza chef Denis Lovatel for the new pizza offering at the hotel's Wine Bar&Grill restaurant. "When he called me, the oven had been off for a while," says the pizza maker. "Well cooked neapolitan-style pizzas have always been on the menu, but more with a fringe role to accompany the main dishes, for guests who occasionally wanted a more informal dinner". Now instead the Rosa Alpina restaurant is focusing on a high-quality white art that reflects the chef's philosophy, starting with the great and skilful use of wild herbs, "a passion of mine". This way the pizzeria corner can also boast the same sustainable approach, respect for the territory and the fruits of the earth that has made the chef famous over the years. "All the principles of Cook the Mountain can be found in my pizza. The dough is healthy, light and low in salt. The savouriness is provided by a mix of wild herbs, dried and blended so that they release their tastiest part".
Wild herbs on Lovatel's pizzas
Starting this summer, guests will enjoy Lovatel’s round pizzas. A tireless researcher attentive to biodiversity and the use of local raw materials with a passion for mountain products, awarded the Tre Spicchi in the Pizzerie d'Italia guide. He planned the menu together with chef Fabio Zammarano of the Wine Bar&Grill restaurant, for a total of 12 pizzas that celebrate the richness of the surrounding woods. The Nora, for instance, or the Capperi che Acciuga, with oregano picked by the staff, "wild oregano has a heady, enveloping scent". Then there is the Dolomitica, with fior di latte mozzarella, heart of burrata cheese, green apple, lightly smoked char and marinated beetroot, or the Ladina, a tomato-based pizza with fior di latte mozzarella, alpine stracchino cheese, sautéed mushrooms, mountain speck ham and wild thyme. In addition, there are other aromatic herbs collected in spring, "marjoram first of all", while for the dough is used mountain spring water. Fragrant, light, very thin: faithful to the recipe of Denis and his father Ezio, the dough is crunchy as always, and it will be prepared under the careful guidance of a Lovatel pizza chef and then paired with local wines.
Vegetarian pizzas and a passion for the mountains
Another key aspect are the vegetarian ingredients, "we want to replace animal proteins as much as possible. It is not always feasible, but we are gradually moving towards a vegetarian menu". After all, his Vegetable Revolution created in 2020 earned him a special award in the 2021 edition of Gambero Rosso's Pizzerie d'Italia guide. And it's no surprise that he knows how to use land products so accurately: raised in the mountains of Belluno in the family pizzeria opened in 1977 by his father, the pizza maker became familiar with flours and yeast when he was just 14 years old. When he stranded on a rock face for a few days while waiting for rescue, Denis decided to dedicate his life to the mountains, abandoning his career as a manager in Milan and returning to Alano di Piave to take over the business. He revolutionised the family pizzeria with low-calorie and digestible doughs, enhanced by seasonings that make the most of local products.
Master pizza chef Lovatel's pizzas are served every evening except Thursdays. The restaurant is accessible to hotel guests as well as to external customers.
Ristorante Wine Bar&Grill – San Cassiano in Badia (BZ) - Strada Micurà de Rü, 20 - rosalpina.it/restaurant-wine-bar-grill.htm
by Michela Becchi