Neapolitan pizza: A culinary tradition

Pizza, the quintessential Italian gastronomic symbol, boasts a long and flavorful history. Its origins can be traced back to 18th-century Naples, where it was prepared and consumed mainly by the poor. Over time, its fame spread throughout the world, conquering palates and becoming an iconic food.

However, not all pizzas are created equal. There is an original recipe, that of Neapolitan pizza, recognized as a Specialità Tradizionale Garantita (STG) by the European Union and protected by a specific specification.

Characteristics of true Neapolitan pizza:

  • Dough: Prepared with type “00” soft wheat flour, brewer’s yeast, water, salt, and a pinch of sugar. The dough must be elastic, soft, and easy to work with.
  • Cooking: It takes place strictly in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature (about 450°C) for 60-90 seconds. The intense heat gives the pizza its characteristic external crunchiness and internal softness.
  • Toppings: Neapolitan STG pizza has a simple and genuine topping: fresh peeled tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, DOP mozzarella (such as Fiordilatte di Agerola or Mozzarella del Casertano), extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, and salt.
  • Shape: Neapolitan pizza has a round shape with a high, soft rim that is clearly distinguished from the thinner central disc. The maximum regulatory diameter is 35 cm.

In addition to Neapolitan STG pizza, there are numerous regional and creative variants, often with typical ingredients and original combinations. However, Neapolitan pizza represents the tradition and authenticity of this food, a true masterpiece of Italian gastronomy.

Intangible Heritage of Humanity: In 2017, the traditional art of the Neapolitan pizzaiolo was recognized as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, a testament to the cultural and historical value of this dish.

If you have the opportunity, I recommend trying a real Neapolitan pizza made by an experienced pizzaiolo. The difference from imitations is remarkable: the taste, the consistency, and the aroma will take you on a unique and unforgettable sensory experience.

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