For most tourists, a trip to Milan evokes images of reckless shopping at precariously-priced luxury stores along with an art museum visit and perhaps a selfie with the indecently grandiose Duomo (cathedral) di Milano. Unlike many Italian cities, it’s not known as a place to get an exceptional meal deal.
After engaging in the obligatory clothing shopping of which Milan is known, I stumbled upon a funky restaurant called Pomet Milano by Pasquale Pometto. I was first introduced to it while researching for the best places to eat in the city, and Pomet Milano was consistently heralded as one of the best bargains in Milan.
The colorful sign and kitschy vintage interior practically beg for attention. Scan the menu, and you’ll find six “Pomets,” beer, wine and coffee. No salads, no pasta and no desserts. Although the restaurant’s local fame has led to consistent business throughout the day, a staff member still finds time to greet potential customers outside and explain (in vivid, enticing detail) their signature dish to the uninitiated.
“It’s a closed pizza.”
I managed to snag the final unoccupied table and was almost immediately given a free glass of prosecco as a symbolic “welcome”. I also received a free pomet sample. I approve!
Upon hearing the term “closed pizza,” it would not be unreasonable to think to oneself, “um…calzone?” Much like pizza, the calzone, which translates into “pant’s legs,” also originated in Naples, and they are a relatively common sight throughout Italy; just don’t try to order one with buffalo chicken (seriously, don’t do it).
So what makes the so-called Pomet stand out from it’s Napoli brethren? Well, it really comes down to presentation.
All six pomets cost between 10 and 13 euros. The classic version features fior di latte mozzarella, parmigiano, a special smoked cheese called scarmoza, arugula, tomatoes and olive oil. In reality, you’re receiving much more than that.
The pomet is cut into four equal pieces, each of which is absolutely bloated with melted cheese. Then, the cook places a virtual salad of greens on top, followed by two of the largest olives I’ve ever seen. The pièce de résistance is an orb of fresh mozzarella placed right in the center. It’s not melted, shredded or sliced. Instead, an entire ball adorned with a sprinkling of poppy seeds just sits amongst the pomet, almost as if enthroned.
We’re not done yet, folks. A fistful of whole chives are placed atop the mozz. A drizzle of white sauce and a dusting of grated parmigiano serve as the finishing touches.
A pizza with a chronic steroid addiction is the final result. With more dough, more cheese and more add-ons than a typical pizza, one pomet could fill two people…or one ravenous college student.
The smoked scarmoza cheese comprises most of the filling, and it provides a lovely meltiness and balanced woodsy flavor. The arugula and tomato tucked inside add a bit of contrast. The dough is nicely crisp on the outside, and the whole package is sturdy enough to be handled manually, although most diners prefer to attack it with a knife and fork.
Finally, it’s impossible to ignore that beautiful ball of fresh mozzarella. The pure milky flavor and irresistibly soft texture is a nice departure from the hot, crispy, gooey-ness of the pomet itself. The greens and chives add an element of freshness and a brief distraction from the carbohydrate and dairy overload that’s happening elsewhere.
You get all this, plus a glass of prosecco for as little as 10 euros. A meal this inexpensive can help to offset the shopping spree that may have proceeded it.
The invention of this mock-calzone can be traced to the shop’s owner, Pasquale Pometto, who’s been in the pizza-making business for almost thirty years. He is the founder of Pizzaman, a local chain of pizzerias found throughout Florence. He now owns Pizza Am, Piz and the aforementioned Pomet Milano, all of which are located in the heart of Milan.
This pizzaiolo’s dedication to the art of pizza craftsmanship is obvious after one visit to Pomet Milano. A visit to any one of his shops is a must for any pizza-fanatic who finds themselves wandering through Milan with nearly empty pockets.
Originally published through unconventionaleatsnh.com