Son of art and today affirmed pastry chef and chocolatier, Pino Ladisa opens the doors of his pastry shop in Bari to introduce us to a world that since childhood has marked his professional career and his life paths. From his sweet memories as a child to his meeting with Ciam, passing through his passion for jazz to his advices to choose the perfect Easter egg. An unpublished content that tells us new points of view of a world, such as that of contemporary pastry, which has so much to say.
Pino, what is your earliest memory of the bakery world?
As a family business (my father opened his first laboratory/shop in 1952) and having almost grown up in it, I have always breathed the smell of the pastry shop both during my childhood and adolescence and the memories related to that environment are many, as well as photographs that show me behind the counter or in the laboratory. There is, however, one in particular to which I am bound by affection and that I consider important as the first step of a training that today makes a difference in my work. Being a rather lively child, one day my father put a croissant full of chocolate in my hand to keep me busy in the laboratory and made me draw it on the counter. It is a memory that today I link to the technical ability I have for the preparation and decoration of croissants, one of the typical sweets of the Italian tradition.
Speaking of tradition, what elements that originate from the family’s pastry experience can you breathe today inside the “Pasticceria Pino Ladisa Pasticcere e Cioccolatiere” in Bari, your hometown?
My training began with the basics of traditional Bari pastry in the family workshop, and I have specialized over the years thanks to courses dedicated to this world held by prestigious masters such as Iginio Massari, Luigi Biasetto, Paco Torreblanca, Fréderic Bau, Christophe Renou. Today, tradition continues to be present in my production: in general, I believe that the touch of avant-garde and modernity of pastry is given above all by knowing how to combine the mastery of traditional recipes with a lower use of sugars and fats, as well as a choice of raw materials and ingredients strictly selected with an eye to the flavors of the territory. A reasoned pastry, as I like to call it, to which are added a few but strict rules such as cleanliness and hygiene, and the motto: “One thing at a time and done well.”, a phrase that reminds me a lot of my father and his way of managing the laboratory where I grew up.
Tell us about meeting and collaborating with Ciam.
As soon as I decided to undertake the project of my pastry shop in Bari, I turned to the company Bizzoca Arredi Commerciali srl (Ciam dealer in the province of BAT), which as always guides me in the furnishing of my premises and which in this case opened the doors of Ciam to me for the first time. It must have been the preparation and professionalism of Ciam’s staff, the order and organization of their production area and the cleanliness that is also found in the lines of their products, in short, it didn’t take long to understand that the company I was visiting could be the right one to realize the project I had in mind. Ciam satisfied me greatly in terms of the choice of materials, installation and assistance, which continues to be perfect for every need I have with the products supplied for my pastry shop, including a 12-metre 6040 P1000 G1 display case, a counter that is wonderfully dressed in technology, innovation, functionality and design. Just think of the “steel Bronze” epoxy powder coating on the inside of the display cases, which uniquely enhances the aesthetics of my products.
How did your encounter with jazz come about?
I grew up with jazz. Since I was a boy, I’ve been a drummer by passion, I’ve always followed music that can transfer emotions to me and I found in this genre what I was looking for. Every Monday evening, as has been the case for the past 14 years, I and a few friends, well-known professionals in the field, gather in the laboratory of my pastry shop, where I have set up a small stage, and we have fun playing together. Apart from these moments of sharing, I love jazz as a listening but also as a lifestyle. Improvisation and technique: I like to see the same improvisation and technique of jazz in what I infuse in my pastry shop every day, and I like that its notes accompany my creative processes.
The Easter holiday season, along with Christmas and Valentine’s Day, is the most propitious time for chocolate. What are the characteristics that the perfect easter egg should have?
Besides the aesthetical factor, that is it should be thin, shiny and well decorated, the most important thing for a chocolate egg is not the magnificence of the eyes but the pleasure that comes from the taste. The perfect egg is the egg made of perfect chocolate, therefore good, with intense aromatic notes. I do not directly produce chocolate, but my choice goes to artisanal productions: I personally choose four types of Monovariety dark chocolate each of which comes from a specific plantation – Ecuador, Ghana, Madagascar and Dominican Republic – and each of which has a different aromatic note from the other.
What surprise will you put in yours?
Starting from the premise that for about twenty years I have loved to be against the tide because for me the surprise of the Easter egg of craftsmanship should be a pastry product, so I had the habit of filling my eggs with chocolates, cereal bars or sweets made of almond paste. It’s only been a while since I started including different surprises. This year my choice went to a line of silver gifts that addresses the theme of the sea. The eggs hand-painted by Antonio, a master from Puglia, will be accompanied by surprises with a marine theme: from the pendant in the shape of a seahorse to earrings with a shell. I continue, however, to include in addition to these silver objects also small chocolate creations to remain faithful to my belief that the true joy that can give an Easter egg is in the goodness of its raw material.