A PINSA is an oval of handmade goodness topped with scrumptious ingredients and baked in a wood-burning oven to produce a crispy, pillowy crust.
The man behind the PINSA brand is Andrey Tarasov, an entrepreneur who relocated to South Africa from Moscow in 2018. Over the past 25 years he has spent a great deal of time in Italy on business, specifically in Florence where he first encountered the pinsa and was inspired to introduce it locally where by all accounts it looks set to be as popular as it is in other countries like Spain, the USA and Russia.
Pinsa derives from the Latin word “pinsere” which means, “to stretch and extend”, and the recipe used today dates back to ancient Rome. Not to be confused with pizza, its closest relative in terms of appearance, the pinsa stands apart, being made with super-hydrated dough that is pressed – not rolled- and the best locally sourced ingredients like Bio Wheat, soy and rice flour mixed with 80% ice cold spring water, the game-changing addition that makes the pinsa so famously light and easy to digest. With each batch of dough cold-fermenting for 72 hours, the preparation process is purposefully slow. Good news for health-conscious foodies is the pinsa is made with minimal salt and far less cheese which brings the combined cholesterol and calorie count down by as much as 60%.
Heading the baking crew at the first pinseria in Paarl is artisanal baker and chef Ciska Rossouw, whose enthusiasm for ancient bread-making traditions is boundless and who is on a mission to create the most incredible pinsas this side of Italy.
The menu at PINSA includes piadinas (folded flatbread), paninis and pinsas for children too with enticing options available including the Dolce, made with a generous layer of chocolate spread topped with mixed berries and hazelnuts. Each pinsa is served with complimentary jars of crust sauce, for those crunchy bits that are too good to leave behind.
PINSA at the Freedom Weekend Market is open every Saturday from 9am till 5pm with live music, Sundays from 9am till 4pm, and from 4pm till 7pm on the first Friday of every month. From November 21, there will be 5km and 10km trail runs every weekend. There is a spacious outdoor area where people can relax at long tables or on the lawn, and children can enjoy a dedicated play area and pony rides through the vineyards.
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