Capofitto Forno

 Capogiro means “growing dizzy” or “swooning” because something is so wonderful or beautiful. Stephanie and John Reitano have created an empire on this award-winning gelato and expanded that to include”artigianale” Neapolitan pizza as well at Capofitto Forno in  Old City. Staying true to their mission they use only sustainable agriculture and local sources for their entire menu. Taste no evil.

If it is grown in Pennsylvania, we purchase it in Pennsylvania, including vine-ripened fruit without pesticides or manmade fertilizers. The proximity and quality are unparallel. We  also use milk, not cream from a closed herd of grass fed Scottish Ayreshire Cows located 50 miles outside of Philadelphia. 

It all started with a vacation to Italy in September 2001, where they passed a little gelato store making cones to order. Upon ordering the couple began wondering why you couldn’t find this in the USA, if cappuccino why not gelato? The very first Capogiro location opened at 13th street in December of 2002. Then Rittenhouse in 2005, next UPenn and CapoYunk in 2009.  Capofitto in Sepetember 2014 and Dilworth Plaza in Summer 2015. 

 In order to bring a piece of Italy back with us- to embrace the lasting beauty of that everyday life- we felt it was necessary to commit to the rules for what is considered “artigianale”.  The rules dictate that everything must be made in-house. The Italian term is actually a directive designed to protect consumers from misleading advertising. 

Never could you imagine a love for quality food would take you this far. Stephanie is not a trained chef so when she started making gelato she used the same attention to quality ingredients as though she were cooking for her children. Her husband John is a full-time physician. The passion for food and entrepreneurial spirit must run in the family because John’s grandfather was a baker and a butcher and ran his own local grocery. Stephanie’s grandfather owned a restaurant with a raw bar in New England. 
 
There was not a cuisine he did not love. He worked in NYC and could find the best of… anything. We ate well. I did bartend and waitress my way through college , but I have never not worked in a restaurant. My three kids grew up in the kitchen. Some of my fondest memories are of my kids in the kitchen or my daughter working the register while standing on a milk crate at age 7 (now she’s 19.)
I am responsible for all recipes and menu offerings, daily operations and cafe design. I have trained in Italy for gelato, pizza, and focaccia. Most recently, I did several stages with Ciro Salvo in Naples, Italy. He is considered one of the top 3 pizzaioli in Naples. I am striving for the most authentic Neapolitan pizza. All the details, dough, ingredients, oven, wood… are obsessed about. I have treated pizza the way I treat gelato.
 At Capofitto Forno you can expect only the best in wine and food. The focaccia is authentic focaccia in the Genovese style. For lunch the Focaccia Paninis are very popular. They also make their own sausage for the Focaccia Salsiccia and the Prosciutto Cotto Panino with house-made pepper relish is big seller as well. 
We had to start off the night with Capofitto’s Charcuterie Cheese plate with house-made focaccia, sticky nuts, pickles & mostarda. The cheeses included Robiola – creamy cow, sheep + goat cheese from Piedmont,  Midnight Moon – goat gouda in Holland for Cypress Grove, and  Testun al Barolo – goat + sheep milk with Nebbiolo grape must. The salumi selection included Prosciutto di Parma Rotondo Dolce DOP – cured pork loin, Bresaola – air dried beef tenderloin from 1732 Meats, and Sweet Capocollo – whole muscle pork salame. 
 

The wine menu at Capofitto is nothing short of extensive and authentic as well. Luckily Stephanie has selected the perfect wines to pair with pizza so that customers don’t get lost in the wide selection. Being Italian I could not pass up ordering Arancini Rossi made with risotto, pecorino, fontina, saffron, bolognese, and tomato. These arancini had the perfect crunch on the outside and creamy smooth center. Stephanie also recommended the Butter Lettuce Salad with local lettuce, gorgonzola piccante, hazelnuts, and house made pickles with a orange white balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is citrusy and light, perfect for Spring or Summer. 

In addition to pizzas, homemade pastas are also offered. Try the Spaghetti Ca’Pummarola with simple Neapolitan red sauce infused with garlic, onion and basil. For something hearty try the Rigatoni Bolognese with slow cooked local short rib, pork shoulder and San Marzano tomatoes. We tried the Pasta del Giorno which changes with the season, the special was Ramp and Pinoli Pesto with Spaghetti. Look for Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes in the upcoming Summer months!

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How could you forget about the pizza?! Pizza Margherita and the Margherita con Bufala are by far the most popular. The San Lorenzo with Provola (smoked mozzarella), house-made sausage, mushroom ragu, pecorino Romano, Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, basil is hugely popular as well.

The pizza is all about the dough. I put an incredible amount of thought into the dough. Everything put on the dough, should enhance and exalt the dough. Our view is that the dough is NOT a container. It should be light and digestible. The center should be soft with a crispy, puffy crust. In order to be authentic, Neapolitan pizza should be cooked in an wood fired oven at temperatures over 900. The pizza will cook in 60 to 90 seconds.

We tried the Prosciutto di Parma withSan Marzano tomatoes DOP, fior di latte mozzarella, Rotondo Dolce prosciutto DOP, local micro arugula, Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, and basil. As well as the Tartufella with San Marzano tomatoes DOP, fior di latte mozzarella, local mushrooms, house-made sausage, truffle oil, pecorino Romano, and basil. Both of these pies tasted exactly like they would in Italy which is the biggest compliment.  

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Last but most certainly not least, we had THE gelato. At the front of Capofitto (tempting you right when you walk in) is a full gelato bar. Capogiro Gelato Artisans was named #1 in the world for ice cream by National Geographic, top 10 ice cream by Bon Appetit and Us World News, Top 5 by CNN, Philly Magazine Best of Philly 2002, #1 gelato by Serious Eats by Ed Levine AND listed as one of the best places for ice cream by Food & Wine.

This gelato is made small batch. Capogiro produces gelato in 10 liter batches, approximately 2.6 gallons. Selling 100 pints equates to 6 batches. Eachpint is hand packed even those sold to a supermarket. All of the sorbetti are vegan and gluten-free. With the exception of Chocolate Malt, all of our gelato flavors are gluten-free.

All the cafes have the same favorites. Cioccolato Scuro, Pistacchio, Stracciatella (any variety) and all the seasonal fruit. They only have a few weeks of strawberries and black raspberries, but those were two of the biggest hits. We tried Macadamia Nut, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Sea Salt, and Chocolate Hazelnut. It’s safe to say that despite all the pizza I will always save room at Capofitto for dessert. 

Make sure to stop by Capofitto for brunch also! The Calabrian Eggs are most popular made with local yukons spiced with calabrian peppers and topped with two local eggs, poached & focaccia. The Pizza Contadino is also great for brunch, made with mozzarella di bufala, speck, piennolo tomatoes, pecorino, local egg & spicy Calabrian chili oil.
 
Happy hour specials also run Monday- Friday 5:30-7:30 pm at the bar wit $5 glasses of our house red and wine, discounted drafts and drinks, plus $10 margherita & marinara pizza and discounted apps. Delivery available on Caviar. If you want a real taste of Italy, you can save your money on the plane ticket and stop by Capofitto. 
-Lea

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We would like to thank Stephanie for allowing us to visit Capofitto and learn so much more about their pizza and gelato. 

 

 

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