It looks like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a collection of hexagons, 37 of them, in what looks like a waffle iron and Cosimo Mammoliti is pretty excited about it. It turns out it’s a fancy Italian device for separating bits of dough, a spezzatrice esgonale, and it lives in the back of Sud Forno, the new (about to be opened any momment) Queen Street West bakery and counter service joint that Mammoliti and Co. are poised to add the family of Terroni restaurants.
“It’s a bit like going back to 1992 for me,” explained Mammoliti during an impromptu tour a week or so ago, “we’ll have sandwiches and Roman-style pizzas by the slice.” I had literally bumped into Mammoliti at the (original) Terroni on Queen West, while working on a story about Cavinona. After some prodding, he agreed to interrupt his day to give GFR a very peek at what he was up to two doors down at Sud Forno, which translates from Italian to mean “south oven”.
As it turns out, Sud Forno is already sort of up and running. In its large renovated basement, Terroni’s pastry crew makes desserts for all the Toronto restaurants. On the ground floor, the front part had the familiar set-up of an Italian-Canadian bakery, with counters to display sweets and baked good and sandwiches, then in an ‘L’ there’s a warm counter for the square slices of pizza. On the right (east) side of the room there are stairs that lead up to the second floor where there will be seating. Sud Forno is applying for a liquor license so that customers can grab a quick sandwich and a beer, or maybe a slice of pizza and a glass of wine for a super-casual, but nevertheless civilized, meal. This is what Mammoliti meant by going back to 1992, the year he opened the original, single storefront, Terroni at Queen and Niagara: they started by selling sandwiches until they made enough money to buy a pizza oven.
There are some very fancy looking pizza and bread ovens in the back of the ground floor at Sud Forno (along with the hexagonal divider), and it turns out they are already being used to make a natural sourdough loaf that’s being served across the Terroni family of restaurants. Mammoliti made a present of one these large (18″ diameter, I reckon) loaves of crusty, chewy bread. It lasted in our house for three or four days, with only the slightest hint of going dry towards the end: the bread is very much alive. (The style of bread is also very much on trend among the foodist set, as per Michael Pollan’s new book.)
The bread was developed by the master baker at San Patrignano in Rimini, and will continue under the care of a baker trained by him. Regular, wine-drinking, customers of Terroni will recognize the name San Patrignano for their wines, which often turn up on the Terroni list. It’s a community of rehabilitating drug addicts, and incorporates wine making and baking into its theraputic mission. San Patrignano holds a special place among Terroni suppliers, since Mammoliti’s original business partner and good friend, Paolo Scoppio, died of a heroin overdose nearly 20 years ago. Although it’s not discussed, Sud Forno is clearly more than just a nother addition to the Terroni business, it’s a labour of love.
Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley.