What’s your favorite pizza? Where’s your favorite pizza place?
Anyone who loves their pizza knows to tread lightly with their opinions or risk starting a feud.
The Napoletan Pizzaiuoli (pizza-makers from Napoli, Italy) have decided to up the ante on the fight for ‘authenticity’ and they want the world to know about "The Art of the Napoletan Pizza". There is a consortium petitioning UNESCO to include Napoletan pizza as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Their goal is to have 1,500,000 signatures from international and local sources sign their petition. Can we have a show of hands for those of us who know what constitutes a proper Italian pizza?
A deeper dive into the "Pizza Code" or as its officially known, "DISCIPLINARE INTERNAZIONAL E PER L’OTTENIMENTO DEL MARCHIO COLLETTIVO “VERACE PIZZA NAPOLETANA”, written in the not-so-ancient times of 1984, reveals the sublime subtleties of our favourite flatbread.
There are only two types of pizza: margherita and marinara.
Marinara is defined as tomato, oil, oregano and garlic. Margherita is the same thing with the addition of: mozzarella, or fiore di latte (a type of mozzarella), grated cheese and basil. There are size restrictions (max 35cm), details on crust appearance etc. etc. etc. etc.
Which means our favourite pizzas are fakes?
We can’t have mushrooms, meatballs, capers, anchovies, 4 kinds of cheeses, BBQ chicken & pineapple, French fries, or even bananas and a poached egg on our pizza? What kind of world would that be??
Pizza, in all of it's manifestations belongs to the world.
The search for a good slice or pie is a noble quest. Media sources like Conde Nast Traveler and The Daily Meal or The Telegraph.UK, include pizza news on a regular basis. Condé Nast's Traveler magazine shockingly claims Orlando Florida is better than Napoli!
Italy and Napoli should be justifiably proud of their contribution to our global diet.
But when tomatoes came from the New World and weren't commonly accepted until the late 1800's, and the "Pizza Code" isn't codified until 1984, this seems to be stretching the dough just a little too thin...if you know what I mean. And we haven't even gotten into the discussion about how you eat the pizza...fork & knife or hands?
Now, I’m in complete agreement, pizza is of common importance to everyone; but does electing it to be part of our “Intangible Cultural Heritage” do anything meaningful? Why does it feel more like protectionism or an attempt to honor the "Made in Italy" branding scheme? It's far too late to put this genie back in the bottle and declare ALL pizza to be Italian.
What's next? Protectionism for British high tea including the correct amount of clotted cream allotted to a scone? I'm sure some people would get their knickers in a bunch debating tea but as for me, I'm hungry for a good pizza. Where should I go?