You know you love pizza…and as a wine aficionado, you most likely have a special regard for the most authentic of all pizzas, the Pizza Napoletana (sometimes referred to the Pizza Margherita). I have been known to drive for several hours just to try an authentic-style, wood-fired, burnt-around-the-edges-but-soft-in-the-middle Neapolitan-style pizza.
As it turns out, the powers that be at the European Union also agree that there is something special about Pizza Napoletana, and as of 2010, approved an application from the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani to grant Pizza Napoletana the protected product status of “Traditional Status Guaranteed” (TSG).
Unlike the well-known PDO or PGI protections, TSG protection does not necessarily link a product to a specific geographical area, but rather acknowledges that the item is of a clearly defined “specific character” and that its raw materials and/or production method is traditional. In this case, “traditional” is defined as having been used for at least 30 years, and in a way that allows for transmission between generations.
TSG designation means that the registered product name may only be used by those producers who follow the published standards for the product—in this case, the specifications will confirm that the pizza is indeed prodotta secondo la tradizione Napoletana (produced in the Neapolitan tradition).
The specifications for Pizza Napoletana fill a nine-page document; however, the main requirements include the following:
- The pizza is round, with a raised rim, and a diameter not exceeding 35 cm (13.74 inches)
- It is made according to a specific dough recipe (for both ingredients and procedures)
- It is garnished with—and only with—Mozzarella di Bufala Campana AOC or Mozzarella STG.* fresh basil, crushed and peeled San Marino tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and salt—the layering of which is defined up to and including the “spiraling motion” used to spread the tomatoes and sprinkle the salt
- It is baked in a wood-fired pizza oven
- The overall pizza must be tender, elastic and easily foldable into four
This sentence, taken directly from the regulations, kind of says it all: “When the baking process is complete the pizza emits a characteristic aroma which is deliciously fragrant; the tomatoes, which have lost only their excess water, remain compact and solid; the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana AOC or the Mozzarella STG appear melted on the surface of the pizza and the basil, together with the garlic and the oregano, emits an intense aroma without appearing to be burnt.”
I, for one, love the fact that the EU regulations remind us that “the Pizza Napoletana should preferably be consumed immediately, as soon as it comes out of the oven, in the same location as it was produced.”
Other TSG-certified products include Spain’s Jamón Serrano, Portugal’s Bacalhau, and the United Kingdom’s Bramley Apple Pie filling.
If you would like to learn more about traditional Pizza Napoletana as well as some of the fascinating wines, foods, and spirits of Naples and the surrounding area, join us for our upcoming “Taste-along SWEbinar” on the Wine and Food of Naples!
References/for more information:
- EU Registration for Pizza Napoletana
*STG is a grand-fathered version of the “TSG” designation.
Post authored by Jane A. Nickles, CSE, CWE – your blog administrator
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