Napolità, often known as Napolitan, is not just a type of pizza but a culinary journey that takes you to the vibrant streets of Naples, Italy. This beloved style of pizza has a rich history and a unique set of characteristics that set it apart from other pizza varieties. Let’s delve into the essence of Napolità and explore what makes it so exceptional.
Origins in Naples: Where the Magic Begins
Napolità pizza traces its roots back to Naples, a city renowned for its passion for food. While the idea of putting toppings on flatbreads dates back centuries, it was in Naples that the modern Napolità pizza took shape.
In the early 19th century, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba opened its doors in Naples and started serving pizza with a simple combination of tomato sauce and cheese. This basic yet delicious recipe quickly gained popularity, leading to the proliferation of pizzerias throughout the city.
As the 19th century ended, pizza had become an integral part of Neapolitan daily life. It was available on street corners and enjoyed throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner. The legendary Margherita pizza, with its toppings of tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil, was named in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy, who was said to be a fan of this classic creation.
A Slice of Authenticity: Ingredients and Preparation
What distinguishes Napolità Pizza is its commitment to using authentic and high-quality ingredients. To truly capture the essence of Napolità, pizzaiolos (pizza makers) follow strict guidelines:
The Dough: Napolità pizza dough is crafted from “00” flour, a finely milled soft wheat flour with a high gluten content. This results in a soft, elastic dough that can be stretched thin without losing its integrity.
Tomatoes: The sauce is typically made from San Marzano tomatoes, known for their exceptional sweetness and flavor. These tomatoes, cultivated in the volcanic soil of the Campania region, bring a distinctive taste to the sauce.
Cheese: Napolità pizza demands mozzarella di bufala, a cheese made from the milk of water buffalo. This cheese contributes a creamy and slightly tangy note to the pizza.
Basil: Fresh basil leaves are the final touch, adding an aromatic and herbaceous quality to the pizza.
Olive Oil and Salt: Extra virgin olive oil and sea salt are used to enhance the flavors, making each bite a delightful experience.
The Crucial Role of Wood-Fired Ovens
Napolità pizza is traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven, which reaches scorching temperatures of approximately 900°F (485°C). The intense heat cooks the pizza in a mere 60-90 seconds, giving it a light, airy interior, and a crispy, slightly charred crust. This rapid cooking ensures that the fresh toppings retain their raw, vibrant quality.
A Labor of Love: Artistry in Pizza Making
Napolità pizza makers, or pizzaiolos, take immense pride in their craft. The dough is carefully kneaded by hand, skillfully shaped, and topped with an artful arrangement of ingredients. Each Napolità pizza is not just a meal but a work of art, reflecting the cultural traditions and culinary heritage of Naples.
Where to Savor Authentic Napolità Pizza
While Naples remains the ultimate destination for authentic Napolità pizza, there are pizzerias worldwide that are dedicated to preserving the true essence of this culinary masterpiece. These establishments use imported ingredients and adhere to traditional methods to offer an unforgettable pizza experience.
Conclusion: Embracing Napolità Pizza
Napolità pizza is not just a meal; it’s a journey to the heart of Naples, a city that lives and breathes pizza. Its simplicity, authenticity, and commitment to using the finest ingredients make it a unique culinary gem. Every bite of Napolità pizza is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich traditions and flavors of Naples. Whether in Italy or a local pizzeria, savoring Napolità pizza is more than just a meal—it’s a slice of Italian culinary history. Buon appetito!