Valentina, stronghold of authentic Neapolitan pizza, opens Thursday

Flavor of southwestern Italy with the pizzeria Valentina which opens on September 22 in the place of the late Café de la Poste in Agen. A page turns, a new story is written.

Arnaud and Marie Lucas are in the starting blocks. The couple is fine-tuning the final details. The opening is scheduled this Thursday, September 22 of their pizzeria Valentina which offers real Neapolitan pizzas, boulevard Carnot in Agen instead of the Café de la Poste.

Arnaud, who is the chief pizza maker, was trained in Paris in this art, in the know-how and in the knack of this specialty which is listed in the intangible heritage of UNESCO and he worked at Gabin in Paris, a reference in the middle. The characteristic of this traditional pizza from the city of Naples is to be soft while presenting thicker sidewalks.

The restaurant will serve all kinds of Neapolitan pizzas “but contemporary in the spirit of Peppe Pizzeria in Paris or Big Mama with ingredients coming directly from the Naples region, tomatoes from Vesuvius and mozzarella from Campania”.

The facade of 82 boulevard Carnot has regained its luster and the hallmark of the building’s Haussmann spirit. The terrace has been preserved and the room with 40 seats is bathed in light with openings to the outside. The walls give pride of place to white and greige and an artist has executed an abstract panoramic fresco in the background. Marble tables and poppy-coloured benches give a chic and plush feel to the place, which also has a delicatessen corner.

The Neapolitan gas oven with its ceramic facets, is made of volcanic rock to be able to increase the temperature up to 500 degrees and retain the heat without it spreading in the restaurant. This essential equipment was manufactured in Naples: “It is the Neapolitan Acunto family which produces around a hundred by hand each year”, indicates Arnaud.

The grocery store will offer a selection of specialities: “The idea is to come to us to look for ingredients to concoct good Italian dishes. Only small producers from Naples, Milan and Puglia: wheat flour pasta made in hand, pesto, beef stew, fruity, full-bodied or smoked olive oil from Puglia, Modena vinegar, sauces cooked without preservatives with vegetables from sustainable agriculture, canned tomatoes , burrata, mozzarella di bufala, handmade breadsticks”. You will still find large crunchy olives, anchovies from the small fishing village of Setara, tuna from southern Italy, risottos, hazelnut cream from Piedmont, rum babas.

In addition to the lunch and evening service, the grocery store will be open during the day and customers will be able to order take-out pizzas served by the window in the street with the possibility of sitting on the terrace just to wait.

A smooth start

On the menu, ten pizzas including six Neapolitan classics and four creations with truffled ham, truffle cream, mortadella or even parmesan shavings and pistachio cream. Pizzas prepared with a choice of tomato coulis or mozzarella blanco base, fior di latte, lighter than a cream topping.

The restaurant will be open from Tuesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: “We are going to open smoothly. We have set ourselves 30 covers, just to take the time and get the team in order”. Six people including his wife and him. He will be assisted by a second pizza maker. At first, take-out pizzas will not be available.

So it will float like an air from Naples to Agen. An expression translates the Italian way of life well: “Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto” (eat well, laugh often, love a lot). A beautiful philosophy of life.

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