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After placing the order on Monday night, they knock on our door already on Thursday morning, surprising us a little as we expected it for the following day: there is no tracking of the shipment, indeed, and it’s the only fault in a system that surely requires some fine tuning but which that same night was to give us some huge enjoyment.
«This is a new service even for the company providing the shipments. So they’re waiting for the new version of their management software to be ready; this will also include a tracking code to be sent to every client. It’s a matter of days», Simone Padoan says.
The inventor of contemporary pizza, the man who has had a crucial historic role in the development of the great Italian tradition has indeed had one of his great ideas: delivering his pizzas all across Italy – except Sardinia – in just a few days, and in a refrigerated packaging; dough and topping are in separate packages, ready to be paired following the quick procedure and a step in the home oven.
The challenge is not so much about the technical feasibility, though this is not a banal matter, but about the final outcome for the palate. To which extent can the extraordinary excellence of a tasting at I Tigli be replicated at home? How much is lost "on the way", if anything? So it was necessary to see with our own eyes, and taste with our own palate. And that’s what we did.
As for the delivery, I Tigli’s website says it takes 24-48 hours – depending on the region – from the moment the order is processed (which the client chooses himself, from a specific online calendar which tells which slots are still free. Please bear in mind that for the deliveries across Italy at I Tigli they work and prepare the order between Monday and Wednesday, while on the other days a take away service is available) and the shipment. When the doorbell rings, a large package arrives with two smaller packages, one per each pizza we ordered. In our case it was Seppia (cream of peas, grilled squid and tomato confit) and Faraona (Parmigiano, stripped guinea fowl, monk’s beard – or in our case spinach and buonenrico). The dough is different, pure mastery of Padoan: in the first case it’s a best seller, with cornflour and on the outside sunflower seeds and extruded corn; the second is more introverted, but of great value, made with an infusion of toasted barley from Giacomo Santoleri from Guardiagrele, with bitter, toasted and earthy notes, that go perfectly with meat. The toppings are very generous: a pizza is quite enough for a meal.
You turn on the oven and while it reaches the right temperature, you prepare the topping "station". Once the oven is ready, you put in the dough, which is cooked in four minutes. In the case of Faraona, the Parmigiano melts in the oven, on top of the pizza, and then you just need to place everything onto a plate, divide it into eight slices (if you want to follow the Padoan style) and garnish this to your liking, with the strips of guinea fowl and the herbs, the former warmed up in a bain marie inside their bag, the latter in the special container, in the oven with the pizza; same thing for Seppia (squid and cherry tomatoes in the oven, the cream of peas in a bain marie). These – simple – steps suggest one should taste one pizza at a time, to bite them while they are still warm: after all, the same happens at I Tigli, and this is indeed the logic behind the tasting menu.
The result is excellent: Seppia plays on sweet and velvety notes, you can recognise each element, and the cherry tomatoes are fantastic. As I said, even the dough is superb. Faraona is clearly richer, but it is also very complex, with earthy, vegetal and sweet and bitter notes. It’s slightly dry: this applies to any pizza, but in this case more than others, a good drop of quality extra virgin olive oil added at the end is highly recommended.
These are all fresh ingredients, shipped cold, but not frozen. Therefore, another recommendation is to eat the pizza on the day it is delivered, or no later than two or three days after.
On the palate the tasting is of the highest standards, you won’t regret being at home instead of in San Bonifacio. For us it was a great experience, and very fun too. You must accept the rules of the game, there’s a little interaction, you must check the timing without waiting for the microwave oven to beep: but it’s a very pleasant and mouth-watering process. When you take a bite you can tell: this is Padoan’s pizza, there’s no doubt.
The costs: the dishes of the great Simone have always been fine dining dishes under false pretences. Trying to compare them to a badly leavened Margherita from the pizzeria round the corner has never made any sense. The prices are in line with those that used to be presented at I Tigli even before the lockdown: nine options available online, ranging between 20 and 30 euros, a perfectly justified price in terms of quality, and in terms of the almost unique experience (but in this case this depends on each one’s opinion, some won’t accept the logic of contemporary pizza, too bad for them, yet Padoan has continued to have his well-deserved success anyway). We must also add the costs of the shipment: 18.50 euros. This can be annoying only for someone who lives not too far from San Bonifacio (ah, no: they actually have two options, take away or free delivery), because it’s always more convenient than driving to I Tigli and perhaps staying overnight for someone who lives in another region, like us, for instance, in Milan.
A last note: always from the website of I Tigli you can access the I Tigli Lab page, where you can order other delicacies available for delivery: Torta alle rose, Veneziane with apricots or lemon, biscuits, compotes, and even Padoan’s bread.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso