It's Not Pizza Napoletana if You Don't Follow the Rules

Pizza Margherita will now be recognized as a "regional specialty" in Naples by the European Union under its official name, the Pizza Napoletana. This means anyone claiming to sell a Pizza Napoletana must now adhere to the rules of what constitutes a Pizza Napoletana, as conceived by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (the True Neapolitan Pizza Association):

  • The diameter must be no more than 35 cm (14 inches) in diameter and no thicker than 1/3 of a centimeter at its center
  • The tomato base must be made from the San Marzano variety of tomatoes
  • The olive oil used must be extra virgin
  • The cheese topping is buffalo mozzarella
  • All ingredients must be from the Campania region
  • The oven must be wood-fired, and the pizza must cook in less than two minutes

Legend has it that the Margherita was created in 1889 at Pizzeria Brandi, in honor of the queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Since its inception, it's gone through a myriad of changes and creative twists by pizzerias all around the world, like a tomato-less bianca version. However, the Associazione has threatened to sue restaurants in Europe if they advertise the Pizza Napoletana but aren't complying to the rules: "We are protecting one of the most ancient and most important gastronomic traditions," VPN director Antonio Pace said. "We don't want the others not to make pizza, but we want them to make it as we make it—as it should be done."

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