Spend a little time around pizza chefs, and you will quickly learn that they are extremely serious about their craft. The typical pizzaiolo is only too happy to engage you in a long and detailed discussion about ingredients, cooking techniques, and the longstanding rivalry between the Neapolitan and Roman versions of everyone’s favourite treat.
This passion for authenticity and the highest standards took the pizza makers of Naples all the way to the European Parliament, where they lobbied for, and received a Protected Designation of Origin, or PDO, which lays out the requirements a pizza must meet to be considered an official Neapolitan Pizza.
A genuine Neapolitan pizza can only be made with San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown in the vocanic soil to the south of Mount Vesuvius. The dough must be made with type 0 or 00 flour, Neapolitan yeast, salt and water. Finally, the cheese must be Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, which can only be made from the milk of water buffalo that have been raised in a semi-wild state in the marshy areas around Campania and Lazio.
The dough must be kneaded and rolled out by hand (no rolling pins allowed!), and must be no more than 3 millimeters thick. To qualify as authentic under the EU’s PDO, the pizza must then be baked in a stone oven over an oakwood fire for 60-90 seconds at 905 degrees Farenheit, or until it is soft, elastic, tender and fragrant.
Only by meeting all of the above standards can a pizza call itself an official Neapolitan pizza, but it’s a safe bet that nobody needs the EU to tell them that pizza is a delicious, tummy-warming treat that people all around the world can enjoy!
Writer: Robbie Dillon