PiZA e ViNO: Authentic Italian ciao - Millstone

Walking into PiZA e ViNO is like stepping into a little slice of Italy. The charming Italian-themed franchise originated in Johannesburg some seven years ago. Today, it’s stealing South Africans’ hearts as it fills hungry bellies.

It’s been almost a full year now that PiZA e Vino has been a Millstone Flour customer. So, we thought it high time we sat down with these pizza connoisseurs and had a heart to heart about traditional Italian cuisine – and artisanal baking, of course.

The brand was brought to life by the men behind Doppio Zero, Paul Christie and Miki Milovanovic. Their story starts 14 years back in Greenside, where the two entrepreneurs opened a bakery café. But it didn’t have proper restaurant zoning just yet, so they used Milovanovic’s background in baking to their advantage. And that was the beginning of Doppio Zero.

Just seven years later, PiZA e ViNO was born. Both PiZA e ViNO and Doppio Zero may have evolved from the same origin but they’re totally different. Where Doppio Zero focuses on Mediterranean food with Italian flair, PiZA e ViNO is passionate about offering Italian food that lives up to the real thing.

PiZA e ViNO distinguishes itself like so: " We see ourselves like brother and sister, the same but very different – here to learn from each other and build each other up. We also have the same essence. Both brands have a passion for food and customer experience."

As you may have gathered from the name, PiZA e ViNO are all about authentic Italian food – specifically pizza and wine. They’re big believers in keeping the tradition alive. So much so, that they brought in Italian chef, Matteo Latorre.

According to a PiZA e ViNO spokesperson, " We brought Matteo in to help us improve what we already do through his extensive knowledge … and because he comes from the land of pizza! This was really important, as we wanted somebody who would bring a certain amount of authenticity to the table, while still being able to put a South African spin on the dishes."

When it comes to pizza, they’ve come as close to perfecting the real deal as possible. Something the brand attributes to its stringent pizza recipe, as well as its use of interesting flavour combinations: " Our pizza dough recipe is key to our success and we spend many hours perfecting it. We do also bake some great bread which goes with some of our dishes."

PiZA e ViNO is also well-known for its quality, customer service and passionate use of classic Italian ingredients – which are always fresh. Much like our Millstone brand, they use a mixture of traditional and modern methods to achieve an authentic Italian feel. This is part of what leads them to our stone-ground flour. After all, our flour is categorised in the same vein as Italian flour is: by how finely it is milled.

Our speciality flour, Farina 00, was the obvious choice for PiZA e ViNO because of how it’s made. Its fine texture adds that Italian authenticity to every dish and is perfect for PiZA e ViNO’s pizza bases, pasta and artisanal bread. But what makes our flour truly Italian is the fact that its stone-milled in our custom-built Danish and Italian mill. We’d like to think that the only way you could get flour that’s more traditionally Italian is if you were to import flour directly from Italy!

Maintaining the brand essence is a high priority for PiZA e ViNO. " I think our biggest point of difference is the fact that we are what we say we are. There are so many South African restaurants that try to be everything to everybody. What we do is stick to our pizzas. Our menu changes twice a year but the volume of our menu doesn’t change. Anyone in South Africa will understand what I mean, when you go into a restaurant and you can have anything from breakfast to lunch, to sushi to fish or chicken. We have a menu that has 36 pizzas, eight pastas, eight salads, one steak and one chicken dish. That is our menu. I am a big believer in being great at one thing and not trying to be good at everything."

In fact, when speaking about future endeavours and the growth of PiZA e ViNO, their spokesperson explains, "I think it is important that we have the control from a head office point of view, to make sure that the training implementation and stores we are opening are going to be good for our brand. We don’t want to just open stores for the sake of opening stores."

One thing that’s clear to us is just how passionate the PiZA e ViNO team is about pizza and Italian baking done right. Not only that, but just how far they’re willing to go to make sure their pizzas are as close to those of their Italian counterparts as possible.

But what about the role of traditional Italian cooking and artisan baking in the modern world? The powers that be at PiZA e ViNO had this to say: " Food types and flavours tie us to our communities and tradition, they bring out the nostalgia we long for, making us feel good and connected." We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

To find out more about PiZA e ViNO, visit their website on http://www.pizaevino.co.za or head over to their Facebook page. And next time a pizza craving hits, you know where to go. They’ve got stores all over Gauteng, and even one in Stellenbosch.