Naples, the birthplace of the modern pizza, has cause for celebration. Traditional Neapolitan pizza, ‘Pizza Napoletana’, has been awarded a quality ‘Traditional Speciality Guaranteed’ (TSG) certification from the European Commission’s TSG committee.
Pizzerias that sell Neapolitan pizza in Europe and wish to use the TSG label must now conform to a series of regulations. These regulations cover not only the preparation and cooking of the pizza but the use of traditional ingredients.
Historic Ruling for Authentic Italian Pizza
The historic ruling is the product of years of lobbying by Neapolitan pizza-makers. Traditional pizzerias have fought for years to protect the authenticity of their Neapolitan pizza recipe.
Italian Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia hailed the decision. In a statement he said; "Europe has awarded the work and the tenacity of Neapolitan producers… for a product that too often and too long has been the subject of bad imitations that have nothing to do with the true Pizza Napoletana”.
Traditional Recipe of Pizza Napoletana
According to the new ruling, a true Pizza Napoletana must have:
- a round shape;
- a diameter of less than 35 cm;
- a raised golden-brown border between 1 and 2 cm;
- a base that is flexible and easily bent;
- tomato sauce perfectly blended with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, and fresh basil;
- mozzarella – ideally certified buffalo mozzarella – in close and evenly-spaced blobs
The pizzaiolo, or pizza maker, must also be up to the task of creating an authentic Pizza Napoletana. The pizza dough must be hand-stretched in quick, even movements to maintain its shape. Regulations also ban the use of rolling pins and other machinery. Finally, pizzaiolos must cook Pizza Napolenta in a traditional wood-fired pizza oven.
History of Pizza Napoletana
It is thought that the recipe for Pizza Napoletana evolved between 1715 and 1725 when it was one of the most common foods in the grand kingdom of Naples. A Neapolitan chef also created Pizza Margherita to honor the Queen Consort Margherita of Italy in the late nineteenth century.