A pizza maker based in Vernezay (Marne) has just won a competition organized in Rome, against a hundred competitors from all over the world. We tasted his foccacia, considered the best in the world.
The Interceltic Festival of Lorient 2022
The crispy on the outside, the soft warm on the inside, this little taste olive oil reminiscent of the Italian sun. Christophe Rivière’s foccacia, located ten kilometers from Reims, in Verzenay, is as delicious on the palate as it is harmonious when it comes out of the oven. the panis focacius is an oven-baked flatbread, popular with Italians since ancient Rome, which can be flavored or accommodated according to taste.
Trained cook, and on his own since 2017, Christophe Rivière has outclassed all his competitors at the World Pizza Cup from October 4 to 6, 2022. A competition organized for twenty years in a category that does not even appear on the menu of its Italian specialty restaurant.
“I don’t make foccacia for customers, only for me and my friends”he explains, while arranging olives and cherry tomatoes on the still uncooked dough, and putting everything in the oven at 280 degrees.
In this first week of October, this native of Reims left for a journey by car towards Rome with his brother-in-law, with a view to three days of competition, facing a hundred competitors from Italy, France, Spain, England, some even from Asian countries.
The adventure had however started badly. “On the road it rained a lot, instead of doing the 1000 kilometers in 12-13 hours, we did it in 18 hours”he says. “The cooler had heated up, I had to redo all the pasta in the hotel room. Fortunately, I had brought along a kneader, my flour. I had to buy mozzarella, dairy products, seafood, on the spot, and improvise certain recipes. »
“The cooler had heated up, I had to redo all the pasta in the hotel room”.Christophe Riviere
focaccia world champion
Gathered for several hours in a preparation room, the competitors then invited to the large tasting room, where a dozen judges, impassive faces, tasted the dishes one by one. “When I took my foccacia out of the oven, the judge said it was cooked perfectly. At the end of the day they called the first three in each category. When they said my name, I didn’t believe it at first. I had already put my apron in the car, to get on the podium I borrowed that of a colleague. »
Accustomed to competitions – it was his twelfth – Christophe Rivière sees above all his coronation of world champion “like a good communication move. I am satisfied but I remain myself, I will not take the melon. I expect people to line up outside, and more orders than usual. The whole village is of course already aware, I know they are proud of me. »