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Inside Naples' World-Famous Pizza Culture

smithsonianmag.com

The Spiritual Homeland Of Pizza

Situated in southern Italy, Naples is a place where pizza is God. There are more than fifteen thousand pizza makers in the city, each one a rock star, cooking up hot and delicious pies with expertise, love and passion.

The famous Naples pizza, called Neapolitan pizza, is soft and chewy, wi...

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Cooked in extreme heat, the Neapolitan dough is the main ingredient of the special taste the pies have. It consists of water, refined flour, salt and yeast, is fermented for 12 or more hours, and then topped with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. The taste is defined as umami, a savoury fl...

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Many Americans buy frozen pizza from the Supermarket, or order from those pizza chains claiming “30-minute or free” deliveries. The pizzas are full of uncooked and overcooked dough which is mostly sugar. The quality of cheese, tomato sauce or the ingredients are not taken into consideration, due ...

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The city which takes pizza as its very identity is vibrant, sprawling and joyously confusing. Along with pizza and coffee that is to die for, Naples is also a mafia town, where crime-syndicates zoom around in the garbage filled roads.

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  • Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, established in 1738, is the world’s oldest pizza place.
  • Initially being an open-air stand for free-hand pizza making, the place turned into a restaurant in 1830 and was even visited by King Nasone.
  • The famous pizza with tomato sauce, oil, o...

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The Story Of Pizza

  • Everyone's favourite pie was first eaten by the tribes in neolithic times, who put crude batter over the campfire stones.
  • The Greeks were known to feast on cheese pies, with a crust that worked as a handle. They called their ‘fermented pastry’ as pikte, which later evolved...

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Found by Spanish conquerors in the 16th century, the tomato was initially a dreaded fruit by which people could die, and was named ‘wolf peach’ by the Italians.

The real reason tomatoes were killing some people was that the wealthy ate it from an alloy called ‘pewter’ which caused a reactio...

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In 1889, Queen Margherita of Savoy called upon the best pizza maker of Naples at that time, Raffaele Esposito, and asked for three pizza pies to be made for her. She liked a simple one, which only had tomato sauce, cheese and basil. The pizza was later named after her.

  • It is said that ...

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A terrible pizza maker who uses the best raw materials will still produce bad pizzas, and an excellent pizza maker having terrible ingredients will also end up with substandard pizzas.

The quality of the ingredients is critical to the art of pizza making.

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The radiant, natural heat waves that come from multiple angles of the oven cook the pizza, and it isn’t uniform, as every oven has hot and cold spots. A skilled pizza maker knows when to move the pies so that he does not end up cremating his creation instead of cooking it.

The heat is also ...

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