Learn How To Make Pizza From The World's Best
The World's #1 Pizzeria Reveals All Its Secrets!
The World Championship of Pizza has been ongoing in one form or another for almost one hundred years. Ever since the Pizza Margherita was invented at Brandi's Pizzeria in Naples in 1889, a pizzeria which was already over 100 years old, and named after the reigning queen of the time (as it was the tricolour of the Italian flag... Red tomatoes; White mozzarella; Green Basil... get it?), the Neapolitan Pizzerias have been trying to outdo each other in producing the most lip-smacking unforgettable gourmet delight on the planet.
Naples takes its pizza seriously. There are over 25,000 pizzerie in the Neapolitan province of Campania, and half of those are in the city itself. Although a variety of pizzas are produced, the majority of the market is in the classic Pizza Margherita.
There are other types of Neapolitan pizzas.
Pizza Marinara: Just like a Margherita, but eliminate the mozzarella and add garlic and oregano to the tomato sauce (it's called Marinara since the old-time sailors were very poor and couldn't afford cheese... even the UK Guardian in a recent pizza story didn't know that!)
Pizza Quattro Stagioni (4 Seasons): No, nothing to do with Vivaldi. Atop a Margherita, add these 4 ingredients individually so each fills exactly one quarter of the surface: Canned Artichoke Hearts, Sliced Mushrooms, Black Sweet Olives and Finely Sliced San Daniele Prosciutto.
Pizza Romana: Take a Marinara, but add back the mozzarella and include anchovies. Don't confuse this with Pizza in Rome which is a totally different thing.
The bottom line always is that the majority of Neapolitans will order only one pizza: Margherita.
It's interesting to note that as you go further north in Italy, what is considered pizza changes drastically. When you get to Rome, which is only about a hundred miles away from Naples, most pizza is al taglio. This means that the pizza is not baked in the traditional round shape and in the de rigeur wood-fired oven, but in modern "American Style" electric or gas ovens in enormous rectangular trays, and in a dazzling selection of toppings.
This type of pizza is much closer to the American/UK kind. The crust is much thicker and the topping selection approaches some of the better overseas pizzerias. The fun part is that you walk up to the counter, indicate which particular type and how large a piece you want out of the huge rectangle and the pizzaiolo will cut it for you, weigh it, and charge you by the gram!
As you go even further north into Tuscany, a very strange thing happens to what is conventionally called pizza. It becomes Pizza Bianca. It's basically Roman type pizza but without any noticeable toppings whatsoever! Just dough, a bit of olive oil, a touch of garlic and oregano... oh and lots of salt. Tuscans are strange. They make their bread without any salt whatsoever. Just flour, yeast and water. It tastes like cardboard. But on their pizza, they drown it in salt. Beats me! Must be the effect of drinking all the Chianti!
In another hub, I've discussed how the general consensus of Neapolitans is that Pizzeria Da Michele is the best pizzeria in Pizza City. Being steadfast traditionalists, you can have any kind of pizza you want at Da Michele... as long as it's either Margherita or Marinara. No ham, anchovies or artichokes here. Just real, honest, traditional pizza the way it was meant to be!
In the images below, one of the brothers that have inherited the 140 year-old Pizzeria Da Michele business share their step-by-step secrets on how they create the world's best pizza. Enjoy!