Almost completely hidden within the forest of l’Albereta, at the height of a leisurely walk through the vineyards of Franciacorta, is the two-story pavilion of La Filiale, a refuge from the busy streets and frenzy of the city, and a temple of pizza. “La Filiale” is the latest project by the MVP of the pizza world, Franco Pepe of “Pepe in Grani”, often referred to as the best pizzeria in Italy and the world. Pepe chose the Franciacorta greenery, or in particular Erbusco (BS), to introduce the traditional yet innovative menu that made him famous to northern Italy.
La Filiale is the icing on the cake at Albereta Relais & Chateaux, the prestigious 5-star resort where it resides, which for several years now has focused its attention on offering a comprehensive, high-quality wellness experience, which promises to satisfy both the desire to relax and the desires of the palate. The location, completely immersed in nature, was chosen so that the building’s design could blend in with it. At the end of a tree-lined avenue, we find a structure made of wood, stone, marble, and simple materials that perfectly complement each other, creating a unique and refined environment.
The challenge that La Filiale takes on is very ambitious: to combine the unbridled joy and simplicity of pizza with the elegance of the chef’s signature cuisine. For this reason, there are about sixty fine wines on the menu, along with local labels and bubbles that can’t be missed, a tribute (due) to the prestigious surrounding vineyards. Pepe’s pizzas tell slice by slice, the stories of the surrounding territories, building an ideal axis that joins northern and southern Italy. You can taste Caserta and Brescia in the refined blend of flours that the Mulino Piantoni di Chiari created explicitly for the Master caiatino (or, as he likes to call himself, the artisan pizzaiolo).
I immediately chose the talk of the town, the “Wrong Margherita,” with baked buffalo, seared tomato, and an oil and basil reduction. At first bite, I understood why Gambero Rosso decided to reward this delicious dish. You can continue your meal with a “Grana, Pepe e Fantasia,” perhaps the most filling item on the menu. However, what surprised me, in addition to the combinations and the highest quality ingredients, is the thin and light dough. In short, this restaurant produces a final result that satisfies not only your tastes but the stomach as well.
The result of years of study and research, Franco Pepe’s culinary philosophy also calls for special attention to the digestibility of the dough. Pepe’s mission (born practically with his hands in flour, while observing his baker grandfather and pizzaiolo father) is to combine tradition and exploration, gastronomic experimentation and artisanal technique. His desire to discover and experiment, which is considered to be too audacious for some, has helped Franco Pepe rise in the ranks of the Italian pizza landscape. With “La Filiale,” the pizza master adds a new ”tre spicchi” award to his resume: the highest score from the Gambero Rosso judging panel, previously held by his parent company in Caiazzo, the “Pepe in Grani.”