Without going on one of my tangents about how food should be prepared, let me just say it is hard to find a truly, 100%, great pizza place around here. There are hundreds of different pizza places around here claiming to have the best pizza.
Once again I play the Italy card in my defense. Before I went to Naples I could enjoy just about any pizza that was put in front of me. All of the big names, store bought, frozen; you name them I ate them. I do remember, I think, enjoying just about every pizza around, but alas, the trip to Naples, it changed me.
You could put all of the freshest ingredients on any pizza and still won’t have a good pizza. It all comes down to the crust. These local places and even big franchises have some good toppings, creative toppings. It stops there. The crust has a lot of work to be done to it. Or quite possibly less work. The best crust I have ever had came from Naples. It also took the least amount of time to cook; about one minute. With the perfect ratio of softness to crispness the Neapolitan crust is a step above the rest. Thin, crispy, soft and chewy all at the same time, all in about a minute. The key is their 800 to 1000 degree, home made brick ovens. Every pizza place in Naples has one. The man behind every pizza checks them constantly. That is care; something which the American pizza places has lost over the years.
Most American pizza places do have some fresh toppings. I do have to give them that. Why do we steer clear of fresh mozzarella? Just by it’s self it is wonderful. Put it in an 800 degree oven and melt it; Phenomenal. American pizza has gone with the fast and easy route for making pizzas. That is how we lose quality. Take the time and slice up the fresh mozzarella; it will be worth it.
Don’t get me started on the sauce. That is where Americans make the mistake of taking the time and effort in making these extravagant mixes. All you need is a can of the best tomatoes around; shipped from Naples of course.
Now about all those crazy toppings; let’s think minimal. The best pizza I had in Naples was at Pizzeria Da Michele. Yes it is the same pizza place which inspired the book Eat, Pray, Love and Julia Roberts ate at when shooting that movie. We sit down and ask for the menu, he points to the wall; two options? There is no way I would like this place. The two pizzas to order were pizza marinara or pizza margarita. Ok, I’ll go classic pizza margarita with the fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. We have about a minute to relax in our seats before the pizza arrives, hot, bubbly and crisp. I have died and gone to heaven. I love this pizza. Me, Scott, carnivore pizza lover, is falling in love with a meatless pizza. So simple and yet so extravagant at the same time, this puts all my meaty pizza fantasies to shame.
The phrase that pops into my head is “ignorance is bliss”. My entire life I have had the best pizza. I gorged myself with piece after piece of greasy, thick, hard and down right disgusting pizza. I liked it. I didn’t know that there was anything better. Pizza was invented in Naples. Hello, McFly! The light bulb should have gone off in my head years ago. It never crossed my mind to go to Italy either. When someone invited me I said sure. This was the best decision of my life. I had some of the best food experiences there.
American pizza place don’t put the time and effort into their work as the Italians. We are so much into the get it and go routine. The pizza places here see that. Therefore they use fast ingredients; frozen ingredient. I miss Italy almost every day; even more when I drive by a pizza place. I know that if I walk in and order I won’t be satisfied. I have been awakened from my pizza ignorance from my trip to Naples. Come join me and take some time to indulge in the greatness it has to offer.