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Pizza rules

Strict rules set for pizza-making

ROME — Pizza-makers beware: Italy has issued strict guidelines to protect the real Neapolitan pizza from bogus copies.

The regulations touch on everything from size to ingredients to the type of oven — and rule-abiding restaurants will receive a special label attesting that real pizza can be eaten there.

The rules, issued by the Agriculture Ministry and printed Tuesday in the country’s Official Gazette, are part of Italy’s efforts to protect its cuisine across the European Union, although it was not immediately clear what steps would be taken for enforcement.

Were she still with us, I’d have suggested a good stern talking-to by my grandmother as the enforcement mechanism. There’d be no concern about recidivism, that’s for sure.

The standards recognize only three types of real Neapolitan pizza: Marinara, with garlic and oregano; Margherita, with basil and mozzarella from the southern Apennines; and extra-Margherita, with fresh tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella from Campania, the region that includes pizza’s hometown, Naples.

The dough must be rolled out manually and baked in wood-burning ovens that can reach the required temperature of 905 degrees.

The regulations were approved after surveying pizza-makers in Naples and surrounding areas.

Restaurants that abide by the rules will get a label saying their pizza is a “guaranteed traditional specialty.”

“These norms protect one of the most ancient and most important gastronomic traditions,” said Antonio Pace, owner of one of Naples’ oldest pizza restaurants and the president of a pizza-makers’ association.

“We don’t want the others not to make pizza, only we want them to make it as we make it — as it should be done,” he said Wednesday.

I just want to say that fresh buffalo mozzarella is quite possibly nature’s perfect food. I like other stuff on my pizza too much to get hung up on what constitutues an Official Real Neapolitan pie or not, but any pizza that starts with buffalo mozzarella is going to be worth eating.

Damn. Now I’m hungry.

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6 Comments

  1. William Hughes says:

    Ironically, the pizza in Rome is not quite as good as that in New York. Even more ironic is that Neopolitan pizza is what we call “Sicilian” (square) and Sicilian pizza is what we call “Neopolitan” (round), at least according to my landlord, who is Neopolitan.

    Buffalo mozzarella is wonderful, however, it is next to impossible to find in the US. I’m just happy that I have an excellent place right down the street from my house, as opposed to many people in this world that must settle for Dominos or Pizza Hut.

  2. Tim says:

    Interesting. I guess that would make it the Rheinheitsgebot of pizza, then.

  3. Steve Bates says:

    Buffalo mozzarella

    Ooooh, where can one find it in Houston, Charles? And extra-Margherita… is there any place in town for that?

    Darn you, now I’m hungry for pizza, and it’s too late even to order in…

  4. I’ve gotten it at Whole Foods in the past, and Central Market also has it. It is expensive, but boy is it good.

  5. Matt says:

    A compromise

    Central Markets in Austin now carry an American-made Buffalo Mozzarella, made by Bubalus Bubalis in California. It’s not *quite* as good as the Italian (because of their recipe, which makes for a longer shelf life), but it’s less of a budget buster. It’s easy to recognize – it comes wrapped in a plastic sheet tied up like a gift.

    For those who care, “Buffalo” Mozzarella is actually made from the milk of the Asian water buffalo (thus the name of the CA company), not the American Bison.

  6. david papa says:

    As a chef and expert in the art and science of correct Italian cookery,I must say it’s about time the italian government protects old histroical classical Italian recipes. If I sold you an original Mustang only to find out later it was fitted with a GM motor, you wouldn’t be happy-Under law its called “misrepresentation”.Unfortunately such misrepresentation of the true Italian classical cuisine is rife- I can get more nutrional and ingredient content from a can of Dog food than I can get from most menu’s offered in eateries..It’s all about being “ripped” off-Customers should expect to get exactly what they ordered, especially if paying good money for such products..and the only way that’s going to happen if classical nemed recipes are taught correctly, by people who are trained in the first place, how else is a uniform code of practice is going to prevail in ensuring correct applications in cooking is applied. Put what ever you like on top of a pizza or Italian recipe-but once you give a dish a classically implied named, then that dish should be offered with the correct ingredients and application..and nothing less-if one is not prepared to do that, then offer the product with a different non classical name..I think that’s a fair comment.

    Chef Davide
    Melbourne Australia