Digging into origins of Neapolitan Pizza
Neapolitan style pizza is among the world’s traditional food, and a national treasure. Who protects and honors Italy’s oldest pizza?
Genuine Neapolitan is cooked in a wood-fired oven; the dough is handmade to be thinner in the center and thicker on the outside. The disc shaped bread is usually topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella with a selection of meats, salamis, seafood, cheeses, vegetables and herbs depending on taste and culture.
Naples is the birthplace of Neapolitan pizza (as pronounced “Napoletana” in Italian). Wikipedia states that Neapolitan cuisine has ancient historical roots that go back to the Greco-Roman period where it was popular among the people as well as barons and princes.
Introducing Vera Pizza Napoletana
To safeguard and promote Neapolitan traditional pizza in Italy, a non-profit organization, Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) was founded in 1984. The term, ‘Vera’, or Verace, means true, genuine, or real.
VPN has several chapters including Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas located in Los Angeles, California.
Many of us develop affection for Neapolitan pizzas around the world and some even take frequent trips to Naples solely to consume pizzas. Unlike wine, cheese or olive oil, where there are strict production protocols with government seals and tracking processes, it is nearly impossible to control standards for Neapolitan pizzas.
For that reason, VPN developed its own certification procedures that involve observing and inspecting pizza making and baking methods prior to awarding VPN certification to the restaurant indicating that pizzas prepared by the restaurant meets standards for preparing Neapolitan pizza.
Receiving the recognition from VPN is not an easy process, as there are certain methods that have to be followed. Only few hundred restaurants in the entire world get VPN certification including just 35 pizzerias in the United States. A16 Restaurant in San Francisco is the only pizzeria in the city to have VPN certification.
To pursue the official recognition from VPN, you can enroll at one of their training schools either in Naples or Los Angeles. VPN offers 2 types of training over 3 days or 6 days. Training involves learning about products and the production process. The masters will teach you techniques and give you the opportunity to make and bake pizza at a pizzeria during regular business hour and have direct contact with customers. The last step of training includes written and practical tests.
I have been exploring and discussing with other counterparts on whether Mozzeria should qualify for VPN certification. Would it be cool if Mozzeria becomes the second restaurant in San Francisco to receive certification? Would I be the first deaf person to hold VPN certification?