Massimo Tolve: an Italian born and raised in Naples and now owner of Pizzeria “Pizza Pomodoro” in Wellington (New Zealand), answer our questions in a brief interview:
1) How was your passion for pizza born?
Given that I was born in Naples, my passion for pizza was consequently born soon after my birth. We Neapolitans love and we are proud of our pizza since the first months of life. Moreover, my family had a deli in Naples where I was raised and, as I worked in the family activity, pizza has been one of the first products I fell in love with since my childhood, both producing and eating it.
2) If you should describe yourself as a pizza, which one would you choose?
Undoubtedly Margherita with mozzarella di bufala from Campania. I consider myself as a simple, genuine and joyous person, just like I judge a nice Margherita with mozzarella di bufala!
3) Tradition vs. innovation. Which one do you choose to make your pizzas?
I opened my pizzeria 15 years ago, in 2000, with a mixed menu that combined traditional and innovative pizzas. To this day, I have the pleasure of continuing on the same path. I love Neapolitan pizza tradition and, in parallel, I am fascinated by new pizza recipes with flavors that sometimes combine excellently!
4) Let’s talk about your pizzeria. How was it born and what are your future projects?
When I came in New Zealand in 1993, there were too many things I missed about Neapolitan and Italian culture but, above all, I missed my number one love in gastronomy, the real pizza!
After different years working in the food service, I decided to open my little pizzeria in 2000. After 15 years it has not changed, we are always the same little pizzeria with take away and home delivery services, but technologically more advanced, for we receive online orders since 2000. In 2013 we enlarged, opening a bar adjacent to our pizzeria, where we serve artisan quality beers along with our pizzas. In the future, we would like to do something similar, another pizzeria/bar, always in New Zealand, that values the quality of both food and drinks, with accessible prices at the same time.
5) What is your customers’ favorite pizza?
During the first 10 years, the most flavored pizzas have been the most demanded ones. In the last 4-5 years the locals have been appreciating very much the simplest pizzas and, in particular, the classic Margherita. Yes, at present, it is the Margherita!
6) Do you ever think of coming back to Italy?
I go back to Italy every two years. Italy, and particularly Naples, will always be part of me and will always be in my heart! Anyway, after 20 years, I must admit that New Zealand, and Wellington in particular, is my home now.
Thanks to: Pizza Napoletana