La Grande Bellezza: Neapolitan Pizza

March 17, 2015

 

The pizza that I compare all pizza to is the from the Trianon da Ciro in Naples-- they also have a location in Salerno which I also visited. My cousin Agata treated me to my first experience there and she explained that L'Antica Pizzaria Da Michele close by is its only rival in Naples. Da Michele serves Margherita and Marinara (no cheese) pizza while the Trianon offers many many varieties. Both are fantastic though.

 

Pizza has a long history, not exactly as we know it but there is evidence of flatbread-like foods with various toppings going back to the Neolithic age. In 997 AD the term "pizza" was seen in documents in Gaeta, Italy for the first time (by the way this is a gorgeous little town in the Lazio area between Naples and Rome with excellent gelato caldo). In 16th Century Naples, it was mostly a poor man's street food, and still feels as such today, a "street food" available along the cobblestoned narrow streets of Naples. After the Europeans came in contact with the Americas, tomato was finally added to it. Then in 1889, Raffaele Esposito created the " Pizza Margherita" in honor of Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Since then, Neapolitan Pizza has become world-renowned with fresh basic ingredients, thin crust and absolutely blissful. 

 

Today, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana has set the very specific rules that must be followed to create an authentic Neapolitan pizza. 

  • The pizza must be baked in a wood-fired, domed oven for 60-90 seconds at 485 C (905 F).  

  • The base must be hand-kneaded and must not be rolled with a pin or prepared by any mechanical means instead a pizzaioli — the pizza makers roll it with their fingers. 

  • The pizza must not exceed 35 centimetres in diameter or be more than 1/3 cm thick at the centre. 

  • The pizza is thin crusted and has a cornicione which is a term for the puffy edge of the pizza known as the " lip". 

  •  The pizza must also be made with double-zero flour which is highly refined for perfect pizza crust.

The DOP (Denominazione d'origine Protetta) is the mark that the European Union created to indicate authenticity of food. The San Marzano Tomatoes used in pizza recipes, grown on the volcanic plains of Mount Vesuvius, have such a mark. Like most foods grown in volcanic soil, these tomatoes are high in nutrients and vitamins. Most importantly for me is the use of Mozzarella Di Bufala form the water buffalos in the Campania region--this is such exquisite cheese and can only be found in this area. I make sure I get a belly full when I visit

 

To find authentic Neopolitan Pizza in NYC check out this link. http://americas.pizzanapoletana.org.

 

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