Inaugural Melbourne Pizza Festival
The very first Melbourne Pizza Festival will take place over six weeks (from 9 July until 12 August) and showcase 12 of the city’s best pizzerias.
The public and a jury of excellence – which will include chefs, journalists and key members of the Italian community – will be given the opportunity to cast their votes based on how much they enjoyed the pizza, the service, ambience and overall experience. At the conclusion of the festival, a winner will be selected for each category, with one pizzeria selected as the overall winner.
Despite the competitive nature of this sort of festival, organizer Matteo Rubbettino is quick to assert that the Pizza Festival is more than a competition. “The whole initiative is not just about competing, it is about showing customers that there are different ways of making pizza and different variables involved. It is about getting them to reflect on these and to understand that what’s really important is the taste of the pizza that follows the authentic way of making it,” he explains.
“I am hoping the festival will encourage the Italian food industry to get together and engage actively in conversation about authenticity and quality.”
Mr Rubbettino has worked as a producer for the Italian section of SBS Radio program Kitchen Conversations for the past two years, and is now the director of newly created organisation, Pizza Connection Australia, which will introduce pizza courses, competitions and manage the Australian National Acrobatic Pizza Team.
Using this experience, Mr Rubbettino was able to develop a list of Melbourne’s best pizzerias. The 12 pizzerias chosen to be part of the Pizza Festival are 400 Gradi, I Carusi, +39 Pizzeria, Pizza e Birra, Mamma Vittoria’s, La Svolta, Non Solo Pasta, Pizzeria Amici, Il Borgo, Ladro, Pizza Mein Liebe and Woodstock.
The program also includes the restaurants Fugazza and Panzerotti. Although they are not competing they will showcase their mastery in turning pizza dough into other types of Italian delicacies such as focaccia and panzerotti.
“There are many pizzerias in Melbourne, but once you have a look at their menus, the list becomes much smaller,” says Mr Rubbettino. “Therefore the festival is also a celebration of the authenticity of ingredients and toppings and the passion in making pizza that can be seen with each of the participants.”
To take part in this festival, simply book a table at one of the participating pizza restaurants on the relevant night and fill in a scoring sheet.
The Pizza Festival awards presentation will take place at La Dolce Italia at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton on Sunday, 12 August.
For more information on the Pizza Festival, please visit www.pizzafestival.com.au.