Umami is a Japanese word that signifies a pleasant, savory, palate-filling taste. It’s often described as a fifth taste, beyond bitter, sour, salty and sweet—a flavor beyond flavor. Umami enhances the collective flavor of the dish. One ingredient, perhaps more than any other, is said to provide umami: mushrooms. In ancient Egypt, mushrooms were reserved for royalty. In Japanese, Maitake means dancing mushroom, so named, it’s said, because discovering one inspires joyful dancing. Our Mushroom Primo has a blend of roasted mushrooms (including Maitake) that give the pizza umami—the flavor we savor. We combine the roasted mushrooms with onions, provolone and mozzarella over an olive oil and garlic base. Out of the oven, we finish this autumn favorite with parmesan and fresh parsley. The result might even inspire King Tut to shake a leg.
New seasonal pizzas usually come about slowly: an idea, or an inspiring ingredient, creative combinations, taste testing, more fiddling, rinse, repeat. But this one surprised us. Our food team cooked up this brand spanking new seasonal pie, and our test audience responded with lip-smacking oohs and aahs, rocketing it into our rotation. We named it Da Vito. It features housemade Peperonata, a Southern Italian dish that showcases the beauty of roasted red and yellow bell peppers by marinating them in a traditional Italian mix of garlic, herbs, spices, and vinegars. We combine the Peperonata with spinach, mozzarella, sausage and Romano cheese on a base of crushed Italian tomatoes.
In 2003, Maria Coassin, owner and flavor maestro at Gelatiamo, agreed to try and capture, in gelato form, the essence of a uniquely American concoction: Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. The resulting Pumpkin Gelato turned out to be a satiny-smooth and creamy version of the best pumpkin pie ever. It’s made with fresh, roasted pumpkin and seasoned with ginger, cinnamon, allspice and clove. Try it and you’ll understand why what started in 2003 as a playful experiment cannot leave the stage—this is its eighteenth encore!