At the top of the first mountain pass into the heartlands of Zonza is an inn. It is not an ordinary inn. You can be very well assured that there is nothing ordinary in Zonza. It has been said that an inn has been on this site for three-thousand years, and that Julius Caesar once watered his horse here, and that the current innkeeper has kept the inn since it was first built.
The last may well be true as the innkeeper is no ordinary host, but is in fact, the King of the Animals. And so all the horses that stay in the stables are very well looked after, although the stable boys are never seen, and the restaurant and rooms for human guests, though sumptuous, are attended by invisible chambermaids, chefs and waiters.
The pizza at this particular inn is so absolutely delicious that you will never forget it. Whenever you hear the word ‘pizza’, or if someone you love suggests this meal, for ever after the memory of this most perfect example will automatically return. You will be in a top restaurant in one of the world’s most sophisticated cities eating a pizza that has cost your host more than one hundred American dollars, and you will say, ‘great pizza, but I had one in Corsica once, in this little place…’
No one knows the recipe. No one can match the flavours of the rippled cheese, the scorched tomatoes or the bright black olives, not even the world famous experts in the kitchens of Napoli or New York can come close to this pizza. There is a very beautiful and sad story of a chef turned mad trying, but there is no time to tell it now, for here comes Mandorlinfiore.
‘Good day innkeeper,’ he said, ‘I need shelter for myself and my horses.’
‘Of course sir,’ said the innkeeper, and took hold of Mandorlinfiore’s lead rein, ‘and you will have pizza.’
‘Thank you.’ said Mandorlinfiore.