Today is the day we celebrate the Sophia Loren of Italy’s food and wine canon: Neapolitan pizza.
Last December, UNESCO gave the ancient Neapolitan technique of pizza making world cultural heritage status. Described as a “living link” between generations going back centuries, Pizzaiuolo, originating in Napes, incorporates both the shaping of the dough and the baking of it in wood-fired ovens.
Naples (aka the Città del Sol) is home to over three thousand pizzaiuoli. The Association of Neopolitan Pizzaiuoli trains one hundred and twenty aspiring pizza spinners annually. Additionally, TuttoPizza showcases the history and art of the pizzaiuoli.
Pizzaiuoli have always said there’s more to their calling than just shaping and baking. According to social anthropologist Marino Niola of the University of Naples, pizzaiuolo represents “the world of the sacrifice, creativity, fantasy of a lower class which has never had many rights but has invented one of the best comfort foods of history.” And it’s not just men: there are plenty of female pizzaiuoli on the Naples pizza-making scene.
Thanks to UNESCO, pizzaiuolo will forever reflect Neopolitan culture and connect people worldwide by their love for a warm slice of pie.
With or without pepperoni.
If you can’t make it to Naples, make one at home (or head to one of Canada’s Best Italian Restaurants) but don’t forget that Italian law stipulates six rules for preparing an authentic Neapolitan pizza:
1. The tomatoes must be San Marzano.
2. The Mozzarella must be buffalo milk.
3. Olive oil only.
4. Natural salt only.
5. The oven must be brick and wood-burning.
6. The dough must be kneaded by hand.