There is little doubt about where to find the best pizza in the world. While I’m sure some of you thought of the large foldable slice of New York and others may have thought of the deep dish of Chicago the majority of you know that the best pizza is the original pizza. It hails from Italy and is the Neapolitan. The Neapolitan is named after the city that creates it, Naples. It is the must-visit city for the best pizza in the world.
Naples is famous for two things. Football and pizza. It is hugely important to the history of both. It was the place where Maradona became a God (and later became the Devil) and it is the place where pizza was invented. While Maradona is a special character and still loved by many people of Naples (despite knocking Italy out of the World Cup) no one would rank him higher than pizza in terms of importance.
Pizza in Naples dates back to the 1700s where distant explorers returned with tomatoes from Peru. This strange vegetable (ok fruit) was viewed with suspicion by many but when hunger started to rise in the city, it was used as a topping on flatbread. Here the pizza was born.
In 1889 the most famous pizza was invented. The Queen was visiting Naples as the country had recently been unified after long periods of trouble. A famous chef in the city created a dish in her honor. He chose a pizza that reflected the color and tastes of Italy. Red from the tomatoes, white from the cheese and green from the basil. The Margherita was born. The legendary pizza is still one of the most devoured pizzas in the world today.
There are three officially recognized Neapolitan pizzas. They are the Margarita, the Marinara, and the DOC. The Marinara is similar to the Margherita but has no cheese and uses oregano and garlic instead of basil. The DOC is made with buffalo mozzarella instead of the usual mozzarella made from cow’s milk.
These three simple pizzas are almost viewed religiously in the city. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation and if anyone was to spread a family recipe they would be in a lot of trouble. There are 500 pizzerias in the city of Naples yet only around 100 are viewed as truly authentic and certified to reflect the true ingredients and processes that are required to make the real Neapolitan pizza. Things like the type of tomato used, the dough process, and the temperature of the oven are all watched closely to ensure they meet the standard. There is an annual competition every year to determine the best pizza with Franco Pepe winning it for three years in a row.
The greatest pizza makers are treated like rock stars and there are queues around the corner all day for the chance to eat one of the best pizzas in the world. If you want to know how to make pizza like the best they are happy to give some advice but they will never share all of their secrets. To make a good pizza simple ingredients will suffice. According to the best, all you really need is some good flour, yeast, a can of tomatoes and some cheese. From there it is the love and passion that you put into your pizza that counts.
One of the most renowned pizza makers in the city says that pizza is part of his life and that is how he does it so well. He eats at least one pizza every day and so he knows them in such intricate detail that the slightest change will be easily spotted. If you want to make great pizza, start eating more.