Pizza making is a form of culinary art only a few chefs can master. Creating the dough, making the sauce, and hand-picking what toppings to are just the beginning of the creation process. Authentic tasting pizza can be difficult to perfect but seasoned pizza makers are well-equipped and trained when it comes to creating the perfect slice.
When it comes to originality and authenticity, Aperitivo is known as the grandfather of all pizza places. It’s owner, Francesco Spataro, is a well recognized pizzaiolo all over the world, making him the master pizza maker for authentic pizza slices, specifically the Napoletana pizza.
The Neapolitan pizza is the most basic of all pizzas as it only has tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese, and herbs as toppings. It is similar to a Margherita or Marinara pizza. Traditionally, the simpler and fresher the ingredients, the better and the more authentic the pizza is.
What Makes a Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
Unbelievably, there is an Italian pizza association that can certify if the Neapolitan pizza being served in a restaurant is authentic and real. Known as the Italian Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, this non-profit organization was established in 1984 to help promote the Italian iconic product, which is “verace pizza napoletana”. It is recognized worldwide and their guidelines are followed internationally.
A true and authentic Neapolitan pizza must be:
- Not bigger than 11 inches, with the crust showing raised edges not larger than an inch
- Thin on the center, showing soft and elastic characteristics
- Easily foldable to ensure satisfactory consumption
- Made with only the freshest ingredients, usually imported from Naples or Campania, where the pizza originated
- Using only the organization’s approved equipment and ingredients
The Italian Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana Standards
Chef Spataro reveals that making authentic pizza requires more than what the association requests, as it also needs effort, time, and skills. Being a certified master pizzaiolo is all about hard work but everything is worth it whenever customers are satisfied and guaranteed to be eating the traditional pizza from Naples.
He shares a couple of secrets, such as ensuring the oven is up to 480 degrees, cooking time is only less than two minutes, and ensuring that each dough is kneaded perfectly. He adds that all his 22 pizzas have passed the standards and are guaranteed authentic by the association.
Here is a list of the requirements to meet the standards set by the association:
- Ingredients – non processed, fresh, organic and preferably from Naples, Campania or anywhere in Italy to absorb the authenticity of the pizza
- Wheat Flour – high grade, refined flour with the standard “00” when milled
- Tomatoes – choose from either the Pomodorini di Corbara, S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-nocerino, or the Pomodorino del piennolo del Vesuvio variants to ensure the right consistency and sweetness of the tomatoes
- Mozzarella – must be a certified mozzarella di bufala, fiordilatte, or mozzarella STG
- Yeast – biologically and naturally produced, must be solid, beige in color, soft and compressed with a low acidity and insipid taste
- Wood Burning Oven – usually made from stone and requires real wood for cooking; it should have a wood-fired dome to accommodate heat as high as 480 degree Celsius for the temperature
- Dough Technique – kneaded by hand or if using a mixer, must be maintained on low speed
- Final Product – the authentic Neapolitan pizza must be easily folded for full eating experience; it should not be mushy nor dry but thin, elastic, soft and warm in the center until the very edge of the crust
The Rise of the Modern Pizzerias
From the Italian, this iconic food remains to be the favorite of most Americans that is why the rise of modern, traditional, and fusion style pizza places have been on constant rise. What more, due to the demand for great pizza, most pizza parlors are now offering themes to provide a different experience.
Take a look at what Pizza Express has been doing for the last few years. In order to enhance and promote their Christmas menu, they have used Twitter to promote their “Free Snowball Dough Balls, please” campaign and catch the attention of pizza lovers.
Hundreds of customers have boasted that they have indeed gotten their balls from the chain restaurant and this marketing strategy has helped increased the sales of Pizza Express. Using what caters to the younger generation, with a combination of modern and tradition, pizza is once again getting enough publicity to support what other projects or new recipes pizza places come up with.
Pizza, whether authentic, Italian, New York style or deep dish Chicago based, remains to be the comfort food people love. It is a great pleasure to learn the secrets of the masters when it comes to pizza making but at the end of the day, eating it while having a movie marathon at home or enjoying it with a bunch of friends will always be the main purpose of this special Italian treat. Remember if you are huge fan of pizzas than you ought a try Texas de Brazil steakhouse because it is buffet style service and delicious food for the cost of it.