Kicking-Off the FIFA World Cup @ Don Antonio by Starita

natasha lardera (June 12, 2014)
Stop by this Hell’s Kitchen Neapolitan pizza joint for commemorative World Cup special pizzas and cocktails. Pizza Artist Giorgia Caporuscio hosted a fun party, sponsored by Peroni and Fratelli Branca, to commemorate Italy’s beloved sport and the pinnacle of soccer, that featured some really special treats.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has just started with a victory of Brasil over Croatia (3-1). The international men's soccer tournament that is taking place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July has been welcomed by several events scattered around the restaurants and bars of the city. Among them, pizza artist Giorgia Caporuscio hosted a private kick-off party at Don Antonio by Starita. The evening, organized to commemorate Italy’s beloved sport and the pinnacle of soccer, was sponsored by Peroni and Fratelli Branca and featured some really special treats.

“We wanted to do something fun to celebrate the super bowl of soccer, Giorgia said as she was helping the staff with trays of steaming hot pizza, “The game is such a huge part of Italian culture, as is pizza, so it’s a perfect match. When you walk into Don Antonio, you feel as if you’re in Naples, something in which we take great pride. What better venue to kick off the World Cup and celebrate Italy’s favorite pastime.”

The preview party was the perfect occasion to introduce the attending crowd to signature appetizers as well as specially crafted pizza and cocktails created in honor of the World Cup. These commemorative pizza and drinks will be offered as specials at Don Antonio’s New York and Atlanta locations throughout the month of June until the end of the competition. Named after Italy’s all-time best FIFA World Cup players, the menu includes:

◆ Pizza Baggio - Authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza topped with homemade mozzarella, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. It is no coincidence that the ingredients pay homage to the colors of the Italian flag. Roberto Baggio is now retired but he has been one of Italy's greatest players who has played for Juventus, Milan and Inter.
◆ Maldini Cocktail - Fresh pineapple puree, Peroni, vodka and blue curaçao. Paolo Maldini is a champion who spent all 24 seasons of his career at Milan.
◆ Meazza Mintonic Cocktail - Freshly muddled mint and lime, Fernet Branca, soda water and sugar. Giuseppe "Peppino" Meazza, also known as il Balilla, was an Italian footballer playing mainly for Inter in the 1930s. Meazza is also the name of San Siro stadium in Milan, which is home of both Milan and Inter teams.

If you're not a cocktail fan, you can always have an ice-cold Peroni beer. Italy is known for both wine and pizza, but surprisingly, Italians rarely pair the two together. Most Italians consider the best drink for pizza to be beer and Peroni, with its subtle flavor, complements most pizzas without overpowering them.

“Soccer is Italy's national sport,” Giorgia explained further, “we grow up watching it … as we grow up eating pizza!” Giorgia Caporuscio, a native of Terracina learned the art of Neapolitan pizza-making under the watchful eye of her father Roberto (the pizza chef of the wildly popular Kesté Pizza &Vino in New York City). After spending eight months training with the pizza pro, she went to Naples and completed a lengthy training internship under the guidance of her dad’s mentor, Antonio Starita, third generation Chef/Owner of one of the city’s most revered pizzerias - Pizzeria Starita a Materdei.

In September 2013, the prize-winning pizziaola made history as the youngest of only two women to ever win the title of “First Place in the Classic Pizza Category” in the 12th Annual International Pizza Competition - Naples Italy’s largest, most prestigious pizza competition, which includes over 500 competitors from 47 different countries. Giorgia has been turning out pizzas at her family’s restaurants Kesté Pizza and Vino and Don Antonio by Starita in New York City for three years, and was most recently appointed head pizza maker at Don Antonio’s new location in Atlanta. During the World Cup she will be traveling among the two locations to welcome fans who come to Don Antonio to watch the games. So if you're looking for the ideal spot to plant yourself for the duration of the tournament... look no further.