Pizza a libretto

libretto- foldAccording to the Decalogue of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana  a/k/a the 10 Commandments of Pizza, a true Neapolitan Pizza can be recognized by several distinguishing characteristics. Like the libretto (text) of an opera, the libretto of a pizza speaks volumes about that slice of pizza you are about to put in your mouth.

The libretto or the way a slice folds is one of the peculiarities of a true Italian pizza. The dough, the ingredients, the stretching techniques, cooking aroma, appearance and the libretto are all features of a true Neapolitan Pizza. With true Italian style and attention to detail the crust exposed by folding the pizza must be “1-2 cm high, even and puffed up, golden in color and with a very few burns and bubbles”. As far as a Neapolitan pizza is concerned, you want to see a lightly blistered crust yet without strong burns. The libretto checks the part underneath. pizza crust

If New York City is a measure of how most Americans eat their pizza than a poll taken by Slice  shows that over 60% prefer pizza a libretto. Folding their pizza more for convenience than a peak at the crust. Whether you eat pizza a taglia, (pizza in hand sold by the slice as in Rome) or a combination of knife and fork and hands and fold as an uncut single whole pie served in pizzerie all over Italy – don’t forget to check the way your crust folds.  Textured, slightly springy, golden in color with a smoky flavor, slight char and lightly blistered crust, part of an individual work of art and an authentic taste of Italy.


Trick of Treat What Do Italians Eat (Drink, Buy and Do)

Let’s play a game of “Trick or Treat!”

Here’s the idea: We’ll present you with a few commonly held ideas about Italian culture and living to see whether you know if it’s true (treat!) or a false view of the way Italians eat, drink and live (trick!). And if you have any tricks in your pasta pot let us know and we’ll see if we know how to see and savor Italy.



Italians Eat Pizza with a Thick Crust

TRICK -Pizza with a thick crust and deep dish pizza are American inventions.  The classic Neopolitan pizza, considered by all Italians to be the benchmark for all pizza, is made from a thin disc of dough cooked in a wood-fired oven according to guidelines outlined by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association, based in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. According to their rules, an authentic Neapolitan pizza must be . . . Read more

Italians Favor Wine from Chianti

TRICK -Although the wines of the Chianti region in Tuscany are highly regarded there are other regions in Italy that produce outstanding wines. Quite frankly Italians generally favor the wine from the region they come from defending their territorial appellations with as much passion as an AC Milan vs. Inter rivalry (unless it’s prosecco which everyone agrees that the best is from the Valdobbiadene). Some of my favorite regional Italian wines come from Piedmonte (like a Langhe Nebbiolo) and a Valpolicella from the Veneto if I am drinking a Chianti, a Colli Senesi  from the hills of Siena suits me just fine.

Italian Gold is some of the Finest in the World

TREAT – Italian goldsmiths have been shaping jewelry out of gold from the time of the Etruscans. The  Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s bridge of bling, is lined with jewerly shops selling hand crafted gold necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets but many smaller studios and workshops throughout Italy carry on the ancient tradtions of Italian gold.

Shops in Italy are Generally Closed Between 1 and 4 o’clock in the Afternoon   

TREAT – Although not all of the shops in Italy are closed between the hours of 1 to 4pm  it is still quite frequent to find Italians taking a pausa  (the break after lunch when shops close in many Italian towns) during the afternoon. Italians believe that there is a benefit to taking things slowly, savoring the food, the company and the passing of the day. Each business owner’s siesta will vary so don’t be disappointed when you arrive in the afternoon to discover CHIUSO (closed ) posted on the door.  Americans may find the idea of an extended lunch break frustrating at first, but if you’re traveling like an Italian it can be a welcome riposo for a nap or an afternoon stroll in the park – a well-deserved treat.

Corn on Pizza?

My Italian antennae went up when I read a Chowhound Blog about corn on pizza. I admit I’m a pizza purist but is it because we’ve never tasted an authentic Italian pizza outside of Italy that we feel compelled to twist it and turn it into an unrecognizable mass of dough with toppings of every shape and form. Or do some of us look at it as a blank canvas to express our inner Jackson Pollok. Now I know you should eat what you like and culinary creativity should be applauded but sometimes less is more.

Some of the recipes mentioned sound like Wolfgang Puck’s California Pizza on acid. Traveling in Italy with my Italian family and friends has led me to believe that the classic Margherita pizza and a few variations (Quattro Stagione, Quattro Formaggi and some seafood and meat toppings) are all you need and VPN guidelines(Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, an organization of pizza-makers dedicated to “protecting one of the most ancient and most important gastronomic traditions” of Italy ) should be followed. Corn, ketchup and mayo on pizza, if that’s what you like it sounds OK, just don’t call it a pizza