Pizza Naples

Gourmet pizza doesn’t exist

In Italy is the latest trend for food lovers, the most cited pizza of the moment.

But what, in fact, is gourmet pizza? Why did some use it thinking they were cool and betraying, in the case of some Neapolitans, their origins and their tradition to open up to fashion? To begin with, can a Neapolitan pizza be considered such? Certainly not because, according to the disciplinary, in this case, we are talking about great well-established classics that everyone can improve in the dough and in the ingredients but with standards from which one cannot deviate except with some variations that in any case lead back to the ideal type: margherita, marinara, baked stuffing, fried pizza.

I Masanielli by Francesco Martucci – Pizza Camouflage
I Masanielli by Francesco Martucci – Pizza Camouflage

Pizza or focaccia?
Then the other great distinction concerns the type of dough because, to say, Bonci’s are excellent focaccia, but they are to pizza like Queen to Mozart. But how does a pizza differ from focaccia? In a very simple way: if in the mouth the pany aspect remains separate from the filling as well as predominating it is focaccia because the pizza must have a perfect fusion on the palate until it becomes something different, more. To give an example with the world of wine, the use of flour is for the rest as well as that of wood for fruit. If it prevails too much it can be pleasant, but it is not considered a great wine. If we even use whole meal flour it will no longer even be focaccia, but bread and something. For example, bread and ham, bread and shrimp, etc.

Pizzeria Negri: the white pizza with butter
Pizzeria Negri: the white pizza with butter

Given these premises, can there be Neapolitan-style pizzas, that is, with a well-hydrated and soft dough, which we can define as gourmet? Yes, but they are very few because behind it there must be reasoning that perfectly blends the sauce with the dough. And the idea must not only concern the dough but also take into account the current gastronomic trends that turn towards the vegetable, the lightening of the material, the acidity.

Pizzeria Pignalosa in Salerno, the scarulella
Pizzeria Pignalosa in Salerno, the scarulella

What gourmet pizza is not?
It is not enough to haphazardly add good ingredients to define gourmet pizza. Many pizza makers think that it is enough to use great raw materials, to say even the Slow Food presidents, to find an effective shortcut. And above all, it may seem trivial, not even cutting the pizza into wedges is enough to make it gourmet ??

Fried pizza with Enzo Coccia's sauté
Fried pizza with Enzo Coccia’s sauté

Can some classics be gourmet?
Surely yes, for example, the fried pizza with the sauté by Enzo Coccia and the Cossack of the Salvo brothers, In both cases it was, and it is, disused pizzas, which have been recovered by reworking the relationship between the elements in a modern way. as well as qualifying the subject. A large tomato and a good pecorino cheese transform the penniless pizza Cossack into a small masterpiece. Even the white Negri pizza from 1928, made with butter, is an ante litteram gourmet example, a bit like the monzù school anticipated nouvelle cuisine

Cosacca pizza by Francesco and Salvatore Salvo
Cosacca pizza by Francesco and Salvatore Salvo

So even a revisited classic can become a gourmet, as Don Alfonso’s “standing pacchero” transformed the dish into something new and acceptable for haute cuisine. Franco Pepe’s example of the wrong margherita is perfect from this point of view: the margherita has only the ingredients and the slightly more pany dough, very different from the typical Neapolitan one, makes it great on the palate.

Franco Pepe: The Margherita (Photo Maria Grazia Viscito)
Franco Pepe: The Margherita (Photo Maria Grazia Viscito)

Vegetable garden and acidity
Above we have reported the pizzas of Iervolino and Civitiello as examples because behind there is a reasoning on the use of traditional products, prawns and mortadella, very difficult to use on pizza because in the first case you risk losing freshness, in the second to transform it. in bread and mortadella. Done like this, with lemon that refers to ‘e’ o muss and raw shellfish at the suggestion of Nino di Costanzo (whose aesthetic influence on the margherita di Pepe is evident) it becomes an example of gourmet pizzas. From my point of view, the pizzas of the future are those that think about vegetables, like the one with beans by the young Russian pizza chef Volodymir of the Foro dei Baroni or the lemon one by Ciro Oliva, the first reasoned, the second instinctively.

Fava beans pizza by Volodymyr Pyeshkov
Fava beans pizza by Volodymyr Pyeshkov

CONCLUSIONS

Carmnella's Pizza Dama
Carmnella’s Pizza Dama

Pizza can be defined as gourmet when the product is rethought based on experience and knowledge of the cooking effect. The final result must Franco Pepe is the best pizza chef in the world, so, maximum authority to listen to when it comes to pizza, and when in particular you want to know more about gourmet pizza. He says the gourmet pizza doesn’t exist, at best, there is an evolution of pizza that passes through quality ingredients, to be combined and presented on the plate in the right way. To recognize a good pizza is a sensorial journey from smell to taste and last, but not least, the digestibility of the product. All starts from the attention to the right leavening, the flour of the dough, the ingredients that top the pizza that must be of the highest quality, and then must know how to manipulate, transform and put them on the dough disc in the right way.