Naples: On The Pizza Trail
Naples is one of the key cities of Italian cooking, the home to the famous food that is a symbol of Italy worldwide: the pizza. The Naples itinerary proposed here is entirely dedicated to pizza, it history and its ingredients, that are all from this region.
Before going on to the subject of pizza, we prefer to stop and look at its basic ingredients: tomato and mozzarella cheese.
San Marzano tomatoes
are a pillar of Neapolitan cooking and the Mediterranean diet. There are countless recipes based on this food, also known as "red gold": pasta dishes with sauces or in stock, side dishes, main courses, and of course, pizzas.
Originally from Peru, exported to Italy by the Spanish rulers and grown in Italy for the first time in the borough of San Marzano, this variety of tomato is the most suited for transformation into the famous canned "peeled tomatoes", a typical Italian product that is well-known worldwide. Their particular elongated shape, the firm interior with no seeds and their bright red color make them unique and recognizable among the thousand existing varieties of tomatoes.
The second essential ingredient for a real pizza is mozzarella and especially the Campania–made mozzarella di bufala. This fresh cheese has a long history, even though in the past it was not for sale but was made and eaten by the family as it was so easy to come by.
The buffalo, originally from India, was introduced to Italy around the year 1000. Its milk, which contains more fat and protein and which is tastier than cow milk, was once used to produce other more mature types of cheese. Mozzarella di bufala has now been one of the most famous Campania products for more than a century. It is made with the genuine traditional old-fashioned methods: four and a half liters of buffalo milk are still needed to make one kilogram of Campania mozzarella.
Pizza and its long history
The forerunners to our pizzas were in fact served to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans: these were flat focaccia loaves that were flavored with herbs and spices.
When buffalo and tomatoes were imported to Italy, the pizza began to be made as we know it today. Halfway between refined cuisine and a traditional working-class meal, the pizza became one of the main dishes and a symbol of the Neapolitan cooking culture starting from 1700.
It was finally consecrated however in 1889, when the famous pizza maker Raffaele Esposito stepped over the threshold of the Reggia di Capodimonte and paid tribute to Queen Margherita di Savoia with three types of pizza. The one the queen liked best was topped with mozzarella fiordilatte, tomato and basil and was named Pizza Margherita in her honor.
Pizzas are available in most restaurants in Naples, where they are offered in a thousand varieties. However, as true purists, we recommend that you try the most typical pizza in Naples, the one with true Campania-made mozzarella di bufala: remember that you will only eat a pizza like this in Naples! One of the pizzerias we recommend is Brandi, a traditional pizzeria that dates back to 1780.