In 16th century Naples culture, a Galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza. Known as a dish for the poor, it was sold in the street and for ages was not even considered a kitchen recipe.
Everything changed on June 11, 1889 when in honor of the Queen consort of Italy Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created the “Pizza Margherita,” a pizza garnished with tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white), and basil (green), to represent the national colors of Italy as seen on the Italian flag.
To be true to the traditional preparation of authentic Neapolitan pizza, key ingredients are used without compromise. Bavaro’s imports all primary ingredients in addition to Italian meats and cheeses.
Flour: (Double Zero) Tipo 00 Italian flour is milled extremely fine while providing a precise balance of protein and gluten. Traditional methods of stretching Neapolitan dough, combined with baking at 900 degrees for 90 seconds, offers a pizza that is thin and soft with a slight crisp to the outer crust.
Tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes are the finest tomatoes in the world originated in the region of Campania and were first cultivated in the early 1700’s. Rich in color, flavor, and texture San Marzano tomatoes are grown in dark, fertile volcanic soil in the shadows of Mt. Vesuvius.
Mozzarella di Bufala: This unique, flavorful mozzarella is made from the milk of domestic Italian water buffalo. This type of cheese is primarily made in the Campania region of Italy, especially in provinces of Caserta and Salerno. Mozzarella di Bufala is very soft and moist and is mostly used to prepare the Margherita pizza.
Since it is a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed commodity in Europe, Neapolitan-style pizza is a one-of-a-kind dish. UNESCO has designated the pie as an intangible cultural heritage object as a result of this designation. Today, pizzerias all over the world make various variants of the original recipe. Unless you spend the time and money to import the required ingredients, none of them will be able to reproduce the exact flavors created in Italy.
WHERE DOES NEAPOLITAN-STYLE Pizza COME FROM?
Since the recipe is authentic, the Neapolitan-style pizza includes a particular collection of ingredients. It uses Roma or San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, which are native to the plains around Mount Vesuvius. The mozzarella used in this dish is made from the milk of semi-feral water buffalo in Lazio and Campania. The dough is then made with type 0 or 00 wheat flour, local yeast, salt, and water.
There are also detailed guidelines for the dough thickness. It must be hand-formed, though kneading it with a low-speed mixer is permitted during the preparation process. It must be no thicker than 3mm thick. The pizza must bake for 90 seconds or less after adding the ingredients at a temperature of at least 900°F (485°C).
To prevent tarnishing the sauce’s flavors, fresh herbs are added at the last minute. There should be no additives in the water used to produce the dough.
This blend of ingredients, tasty toppings, and baking techniques yields a fragrant, elastic, and soft pizza.
NEAPOLITAN-STYLE PIZZAS HISTORY
Pizza of the Neapolitan style originates in the Italian city of Naples. Over 300 years ago, this is also where the modern version of the pie, which is dough covered with cheese and tomatoes, was born.
Flatbreads were part of the European diet before the 18th century, but they were never topped with tomatoes or a tomato-based sauce, which is the defining feature of most pizza recipes today.
Tomatoes were originally grown in Peru and did not arrive in Europe until the 16th century. Many people thought the ingredient was toxic, but explorers from South America carried it back as a curiosity. In the 1700s, peasants in Naples began spreading them on flatbreads, and the dish quickly became popular.
In the culinary world, there are now many types of Neapolitan-style pizza that have varying degrees of acceptance. Since it follows all of the basic ingredient guidelines, the Margherita recipe is the most common choice. A marinara pizza and regional versions with fresh tomato slices are sometimes included.
You should also try Ripieno, a calzone made with salami, olive oil, and mozzarella using typical Neapolitan techniques.
WHAT SETS NEAPOLITAN-STYLE PIZZA APART FROM OTHER STYLES OF PIZZA?
While many of today’s most common recipes, including New York-style pies, are inspired by Neapolitan-style pizza, there are still some key differences with this historic take on a slice.
It all starts with the pizza crust. One that is extremely thin at the base is available in the Neapolitan type. The hot temperatures in the oven cause the dough to puff up along the edges, resulting in a fluffy, airy texture that chars quickly.
It’s almost impossible to eat this pizza with your hands if it’s made correctly. The crisp textures would be easier to handle with a fork and knife.
As compared to other recipes, the Neapolitan-style pizza’s simplicity is also a significant difference to remember. To make an authentic slice, only new, regionally specific ingredients are used. Pizzerias will produce anything that is a decent representation of this Naples innovation using standardized Roma tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, but it doesn’t have the same flavor profile.
YES, THERE ARE CERTIFICATIONS FOR NEAPOLITAN PIZZA.
One of the few dishes or recipes in the world for which an official certification is available to recognize one’s efforts at making this culinary masterpiece is Neapolitan-style pizza. It comes from the AVPN, or Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which was established in Naples in 1984. This organization now has an American branch as well.
The AVPN was developed by the oldest families of the original Naples pizza makers who created this delectable recipe. Its mission is to certify pizzerias that want to make authentic Neapolitan-style pizza using traditional artisan techniques.
Before individuals or pizzerias can receive this coveted credential, they must meet several criteria. Before the process can begin, an official application to the AVPN is needed. Only a few hundred restaurants around the world have ever earned recognition due to the thorough nature of the study of procedures and techniques.
While searching for the AVPN’s Pizza Vera signs is a great way to find a good pizzeria, the true indicator that you’ve found a good one is a long line of people waiting on the street outside.
WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE NEAPOLITAN PIZZA?
Americans have been experimenting with various varieties of pizza since the turn of the century as a way to enjoy this beloved slice. Since there are so few people who make an authentic Neapolitan-style recipe, many people are still unfamiliar with it. It’s an interesting culinary experience because of the mystery of its spices, as well as a general passion for pizza.
Then there’s the matter of the size of the Neapolitan-style pizza. The traditional recipe yields a dish that measures about 12 inches in diameter, so you’ll need to order one item per person. If you break it like an American-style pizza, you might not feel happy when you leave the restaurant.
It is also an alternative that must be consumed immediately. The thin crust of Neapolitan-style pizza is not appropriate for boxing. This means you can grab a couple of friends and head down to the nearby pizzeria for a fast bite to eat before settling in for the night.
The charring of the pizza contributes to the taste profile as well. It is inevitable because pizzerias bake their pizzas in extremely hot ovens. It should not be bitter, as this means that the dough has been burned. Then there are the minimal toppings, which make it easier to appreciate the flavors of all the ingredients.
If you want authentic ingredients and a straightforward approach to pizza, the Neapolitan-style concepts will appeal to you. While you probably won’t eat this dish by the slice, the thin crust and smaller size make it a versatile recipe that will satisfy you with every bite.
While you don’t have to fly to Naples to enjoy an AVPN-certified pizza, finding an authentic recipe near your home may be difficult. Some excellent restaurants serve a replica made with locally grown ingredients that will give you a taste of how delicious Neapolitan-style cooking can be.
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