Italy is well known for its hand tossed, mozzarella-covered, fresh tomato-topped pies. Though many restaurants have laid claim to producing the country's best pie-- it turns out the best pizza in the Boot isn't made at a fine dining eater.
Italians say it comes from a rehabiliation center near the Adriatic coast.
The pies from SP.accio pizzeria in Rimini were recently ranked as the best in the country according to a survey taken by over 40,000 people on the Italian food website Gastronauta. The restaurant only uses organic flour and high quality local produce to make its assorted range of pizzas, that includes classics like Margherita and creative spins like “the mojito” pizza, topped with prawns marinated in rum, lime, tomatoes, curly lettuce, and mint.
The cooks in the kitchen, however, aren’t Corden Bleu grads. The eatery is run by residents of Rimini's San Patrignano rehab center nearby, where people recovering from drug addictions train as kitchen or waiting staff as part of their treatment and recovery.
Approximately 1,300 people with drug addiction issues are currently in treatment at the facility in Botticella, Rimini. Training is reportedly an integral part of the therapeutic treatment being offered. In addition to flipping pies, young people at San Patrignano can learn one of 50 available trades including carpentry, plumbing and design. They can also choose to resume studies they previously started.
“Learning a profession,” the center said, “means growing in self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. It is also the key to full reintegration into society.”
The survey, which ran through September, had a total of 7,335 people choosing SP.accio-- almost 20 percent of all respondents. Gastronauta said the ranking both honored a “quality pizza” and a “project of rehabilitation, training, integration and growth for young people who have decided to turn over a new leaf and give themselves a second chance.”
The center said that former residents have a 72 percent rate of full recovery. Prizes for the top pies from this year's pizzeria workers will be awarded at a ceremony on Oct. 17.