The frst to bring real, Neapolitan FRIED PIZZA to Berlin, Malafritta is the spot to go to if you want to try something unusual! A typical Pizza Fritta is kind of like a calzone, but with a different style of stuffing to what you might expect – and it’s both dangerously hot (!) and also super delicious! We asked owner Emmanuele Cirillo, who is also behind the fantastic Neapolitan pizza joint Malafemmena, a few more questions about it!
You’re the first place in Berlin to offer Neapolitan-style fried pizza in Berlin, which is quite a new style of dish to non-Italians, and actually quite different to a normal Neapolitan pizza. How has the reaction been to it?
Actually the reaction was unexpected and really quite good!
The biggest problem we had was educating new customers unfamiliar with the Pizza Fritta how to eat such a steaming hot (but delicious!) stuffed calzone WITHOUT a fork and knife.
We partially solved the problem with an Ikea-style graphic on a board right where you order the Pizza Fritta…. But to be honest, the reality is with Pizza Fritta that the taste and the heat of the filling has to burn your soul. Haha! It’s amusing even for Neapolitan people eating it in Naples!
What sort of fillings go inside your Pizza Fritta?
We have more or less 10 different fillings. These include Neapolitan Ragu, Salami & Ricotta, Salsiccia e Friarielli (Italian broccoli leaves), some vegetarian options with Escarole (a type of Italian Chicory leaf) and olives, and also some vegan options.
Which one is your personal favourite?
My own favourite is (of course) the most traditional one with Cicoli (small pieces of fatty Italian Pork) with Ricotta, smoked Mozzarella and pepper
And how exactly do you make a Pizza Fritta?
We use a long-proofing dough, add the filling and then carefully seal the calzone, so no oil can enter inside. It can be done traditionally with handslaps too.
Then we immerse the small sealed calzone in the oil, which is around 190 degrees hot, and we cook it for about 2,5/3 min. When the pizza has expanded and is golden and puffy, it’s ready to serve (and yes, it’s steaming hot, haha!)
Do you use the same amazing dough as in your (amazing!) VERA-certified pizza restaurant Malafemmena?
Actually, the dough is a little bit different. In our pizza restaurant Malafemmena the dough has around 75% hydration, and it would be dangerous to use the same exact dough with hot oil. Either way, it’s a long-risen dough made to our specific quality standards.
Some people may find it a bit difficult to eat, as a lot of the filling falls to the bottom when eating with your hands. Is this how it’s like in Naples as well or are they shaped any different?
Yes, its just like that in Naples! But even there the locals are amused by this too!
And you also serve other fried foods too, like Arancini and Croquettes right?
At this moment of writing we have changed things a little bit and currently don’t serve other savoury fried dishes, as we want to dedicate our time and efforts completely to making the best pizza fritta possible.
However, we have little fried sweet pizzas too, with pistachios and Nutella, fried Snickers and bounty chocolate bars!
Plus, soon we will also have small pizzas available in a small oven. But very importantly, we will only offer the three original traditional versions: Margherita, Marinara and Salsiccia e friarielli.
Lots of food is fried in Naples, why do you think that is?
Actually I have no idea!
Perhaps as this was always the easiest way to make something fresh and hot it in the street (rather than having to move an oven around) and of course, fried food always tastes better!
So do you find most of your customers are Italian customers missing a piece of home?
Yes, I would say most of our customers are Neapolitans that come to find a Pizza Fritta here in Germany!
Are you planning on bringing more Neapolitan cuisine to Berlin?
We have a few more ideas and concepts to develop, and at the moment we are evaluating if it’s the right moment to pursue them further. For now, let’s just say… there is a big lack of popular fish in Berlin, as an example of something we are MAYBE (or maybe not!) considering..
What do you miss most about living in Naples?
The possibility to make a mistake twice.
What were the hardest things to set up Malafritta in Berlin?
I would say actually finding the right people who also wanted to work in this small space, and wanted to invest their time in this project.
I’m grateful that I was able to find the best ones in the end!
When not at work, where do you like to eat and drink in Berlin?
I love Asian food! My favourite street food here are the Wan Tan noodles slathered in Chili Oil over at Lon Mens in Kantstrasse – I could kill for them!
Berlin is special to everyone for different reasons… what’s yours: Complete the following sentence: “For me, Berlin is…”
….a place of opportunities we could not have in Italy.
If you’ve not yet had a pizza fritta, we highly recommend popping down to Malafritta soon to try one for yourself. Be warned though, that filling is steaming hot! hehe