1) When did you start loving pizza?
I was born within the passion for pizza, literally. I am the second-born among four brothers, sons of Antonio Tarallo who was nephew of Speranza and Francesco Tarallo. In 1958, my ancestors moved from Naples to Brazil and they settled in São Paulo, taking with them what they knew: the pizzas of Naples, along with some typical pasta dishes.
This new kind of pizza my ancestors started to cook, was a true innovation for São Paulo. In a shor time, my family moved into a larger house in the Italian neighbourhood, known as Bixiga, where still today we own our bigger business in Rua Treze de Maio. My brothers and I were born in that very restaurant. There, we spent our first infancy, with our aunt’s sauces every day, spending our days running around the tables of the restaurant and of course kneading the dough of our pizza. We were always in the reastaurant. We spent our infancy eating in the kitchen of our pizzeria. Every day a celebration.
Pizza is in our veins and in my family’s history. In 1979, my father launched another “Speranza” business in Moema neighborhood – as he also built an apartment right above the pizzeria where to live with the whole family.
So we left our house in Bixiga, but the “Pizzeria Speranza” is still open there.
We started living in Moema, where I still live today along with my brothers, our spouses, our children and our grandchildren.
2) Should you describe yourself with a specific pizza, which one would you choose?
I think “Margherita”, for many reasons. It represents both culture and history of Naples, which I both learned to love and respect. Besides, “Margherita” is our most famous and beloved pizza, which my family brought into the Brazilian culinary culture. It was and still is the most awarded pizza. “Margherita” is our identity, my identity. Besides, thanks to its fresh aromas and its sincere flavors, the Margherita pizza is an enduring invitation to our customers, both regular and new, that we endear every day here in São Paulo, a huge city, famous for its pizzas worldwide. Indeed, I do identify myself with this task, that is, hosting, being available to welcome people, creating opportunities and social events in our place.
Yes indeed, “pizza Margherita” inspires me and I perfectly match with its features.
3) Tradition or innovation. Which one would you choose for your pizzas?
I choose tradition. The very Neapolitan tradition was and still is the author of our success. Indeed, our challenge is to keep up the tradition guaranteeing the same quality, from 56 years.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean we avoid the making of more modern pizzas. On the contrary, we create other pizzas that best embrace our customers’ tastes. But rules and foundations of the modern are the same of the traditional. Same dough, same high quality ingredients, same technique with same thickness, same oven and same basic sauce.
Our pizzas identify themselves with the Neapolitan tradition. We chose tradition, with no doubts.
4) Tell us about your pizzeria. How did it start? What are your plans for the future?
As mentioned, our pizzas were born in Naples. In Brazil, my family launched its own business starting from the more traditional pizzas, as Margherita, Napoletana. Mozzarella. My ancestors imported also the “Calzone”, which we make in the same manner still today. They brought innovation by bringing tradition.
They also imported the “Tortano”, the genuine sausage bread of Naples, which we continue to make the same way; it has always been a success and is still one of our icons. Little by little, my father introduced new pizzas for broadening the menu and satisfying customers’ needs –at that time, in the mid-60s, customers were about a hundred every night.
By the way, novelties were only on demand, that is, we never changed pizzeria “Speranza”’s foundations and Neapolitan rules of the pizza making. The traditional flavors, in addition to the ones mentioned above, have always been, and are still now, the reason of our pizzas’ success, like “Pizza Calabrese” and “Pizza alle Acciughe”.
In 2010 we introduced the “Verace Napoletana” into the menu, with Neapolitan ingredients certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana exclusively. In this way, we became the first pizzeria in Latin America to achieve the certificate from this association, rewarding the veracity of Neapolitan pizza worldwide.
In 2011, we also received an award for our contribution in spreading Neapolitan pizza worldwide, from A. V. P. N. President directly, who visited us during his first trip in Latin America.
We have big plans for our pizza verace in 2015, including broadening and fostering our presence as the “Natural House of Neapolitan Pizza in São Paulo”. We will start in 2015 by inaugurating a new branch of “Speranza”, in the north of the city, reserved for home delivery exclusively. Both production standards and concept of quality we always refer to will be alike the others.
5) Which pizza do your customers prefer the most?
Unquestionably Margherita, our most representative and most awarded pizza.
6) Have you ever thought to come back to Italy?
Brazil is my country, I was born there. But… as soon as I can, I fly to Italy! I constantly keep in touch with that part of the family, which still lives in Italy today.
When my father arrived in Brazil he was very young and, as aunt Speranza, missed Italy and that part of the family he left. But at the same time, he established strong bonds in Brazil. He always loved Brazil and he always thought Brazil as the country which welcomed him and his family, where his sons and grandchildren were born. I’ve never seen in my father’s view the idea to come back to Italy, even though he planned many trips with the whole family in order to make us learn about Italy. He strongly treasured that we maintained tradition and culture of his country.