Better not ask for a Coke – the soft drink is fresh lemonade, with local lemons and honey
fermented grapes from Mas col i’ s malvasia vines, a variety long grown on Salina and used to make wine. The ferment is the foundation of the sourdough ‘starter’ used to leaven the pizza dough and was created especially for the new restaurant by Mascoli’s London baker colleague Bridget Hugo.
Other Salina ingredients include anchovies (fresh as well as preserved), aubergines, courgettes, potatoes, olives, olive oil, ricotta info rn at a (cooked ricotta, see recipe), herbs and, of course, capers. The only meat is cured pork (pancetta or guanciale), occasionally used in the special. ‘ If people come here looking for a pepperoni pizza, they may be disappointed,’ says Mascoli. Better not ask for a Coke, either – the soft drink is fresh lemonade, made with local lemon sand local honey. A short list of natural, unfiltered wines includes the island’s delicious malvasia whites, both dry and sweet.
Salina’ s revolutionary pizzeria is ‘plastic-free’, using only glass bottles and natural materials, and 50 cents from the sale of every bottle of water is donated to Batti5, a project initiated by World Rise to educate children on the effect of plastic pollution on the ocean.
Eleonora Varaldo, Franco Manca’s opening manager, who has taken a busman’s holiday to launch Salina’s pizzeria, has relished the summer ’s task. ‘I love it here. I miss London, but this place is so beautiful and you can cool down in the sea on your break.’
In this archipelago of fire and heat, the activity of the wood-fired oven fits neatly. Into this furnace go the great ingredients that feed off the island’s fertility, so the islanders feed from it. As Mascoli says, it is perfect, isn’t it?
Below, from left Freshly made lemonade at Franco Manca; Mascoli (right) with his tomato grower, Biagio Rantuccio