Take a bite into pizza history, Neapolitan Style!

If you haven’t tried Pizza Napoletana or Neapolitan Pizza, continue reading.

Imagine life without pizza?

  • What would you eat when mom didn’t cook?
  • What would you offer to a bunch of students as you work on a class project?
  • What would you eat that’s hot, fresh and affordable?

PIZZA OF COURSE!!!

Pizza brings people together such as family, friends, and coworkers. Unique in a way, as its the only dish you would feel comfortable sharing with a group of strangers.

Pizza has a long and beautiful history. Arriving in the US in the mid-1800s, brought by an Italian who immigrated to New York and opened up Lombardi’s Pizzeria.

Little Ceasar’s invented the first commercialized conveyor oven, unleashing the pizza making machine that would feed America’s hunger. Dominiques (now Dominoes) coined for developing the first pizza delivery operation.

Throughout the 20th century, the pizza epidemic exploded within the United States, thanks to these innovative pizza owners, and a hungry nation.

Before the American pizza epidemic, this wonderful Italian dish has roots that run very deep. Most specifically in Naples, Italy, here you would find one of the best pizzas in the world! Known as Neapolitan pizza in the US or as the Italians call it, “Pizza Napoletana”.

Obviously, to get your hands on this wonderful piece of art and get the best of the best, you would have to jump on a transatlantic flight to Naples, Italy and take a wild/life or death taxi ride to the nearest pizzeria.

Fortunately, thanks to the natural and healthy eating movement, Neapolitan Pizzerias have been popping up around the US.

Although rare in the US, to find a certified Neapolitan Pizzeria, you may be able to find one through the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana or the Association of the True Neapolitan Pizza website. 

If you haven’t found a certified pizzeria, fear not! You still have a good chance of finding a restaurant serving pizza that is either the “Real McCoy” or very close. Hopefully, this blog can help you spot one. How to identify a Neapolitan Pizzeria or something close. The restaurant should have the following:

  1. Not always the case, but it should have “Pizzeria” in the name
  2. Openly displayed Wood Burning Oven
  3. Granite Countertops – with clear glass showcasing pizza ingredients
  4. Half the menu is Pizza
  5. They offer at least three of these pizza combinations:
    1. Pizza Siciliana or Pizza con Melanzana (Eggplant)
    2. Pizza Diavola (Spicy Salami)
    3. Pizza Quattro Formaggio ( 4 cheese)
    4. Pizza Quattro Stagione (4 season pizza)
    5. Pizza Margherita (Mozzarella & a little basil)
Neapolitan Stone Oven

Characteristics of a Neapolitan Pizza:

  1. A thin and gooey crust
  2. Burnt dough bubbles on the crust and sometimes in the center of the pizza
  3. Topped with:
    1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2. Fresh Mozzarella (the little balls that are packaged in water)
    3. Fresh tomato sauce (lightly salted)
    4. Garnished with a basil leaf
    5. Additional toppings (Arugola, Mushrooms, Onions, etc.)
  4. Served on a 10-12 inch plate

Cook times for these types of pizzas shouldn’t go over 5 minutes and served as a one person-pizza.

Pizza Margherita, in honor of Queen Margherita (1889 visit to Naples) – Notice the ingredients are sporting the Italian Colors, Green, White & Red

Once you find that pizzeria, here are some tips on how to eat your Neapolitan Pizza!

  1. You can cut it any way you want, I cut them in triangles and fold them up (When I was in Italy, I witnessed an Italian woman carve out the middle with precision and left a perfect crust ring)
  2. Pour extra virgin olive oil, at least two to three circles (the more the merrier)
  3. Eat with hands, forks, and knife (any combination)
  4. Use crust to soak up all the oil and tomato drippings from the plate

I like to add arugula to all my pizzas and douse it with extra virgin olive oil!

When you’re all done, take your index finger to your cheek and twist your finger like your drilling a dimple in your face! In Italy, this hand gesture means, “Delicious!”

Hand Gesture for, “Delicious”.

I live in the DMV, therefore, I can only suggest venues nearby. If you live in North Virginia, check out Crust Pizzeria in Tyson’s Corner.

If you live near Rockville or Bethesda, check out Pizzeria Da Marco.

Tell me about your Neapolitan Pizza experience.

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