There’s a wealth of Italian pride for the Made in Italy label throughout the world, especially for the Neapolitan trade of the pizza-maker, known as a pizzaiolo or pizzaiuolo (in Neapolitan dialect) which officially became a UNESCO World Heritage in 2017. This lone figure not only represents the cuisine of the country but its tourism as well, bringing together taste, art and tradition. Food is a moment of exchange with the territory, because through our palate we can discover local stories and traditions. Francesco Monti, the Food and Beverage Manager of the Hotel Mediterraneo Sorrento, talks to us about the pizza of Naples and the variants on the Sorrentine Coast.
An authentic Neapolitan Pizza Margherita September 6th 2005, Pizzeria "I Decumani", Via dei Tribunali, Naples | Photo: Valerio Capello, via Wikimedia Creative Commons
“There are substantial differences between Sorrentine pizza and that of Naples, particularly because of the leavening, the thickness of the dough and how it is cooked. Sorrentine pizza is crunchy with a low crust, while that of Naples has a thicker crust with a more elastic consistency and a moister filling. Over the years, some Sorrentine pizzerias have tried to create 'more Neapolitan' pizzas, but they haven’t always met with the approval of the tastes of tourists.”
The Hotel Mediterraneo offers its clients two types of pizza cooked in wood-burning ovens - the Mediterraneo and the Caprese, both made with products acquired at “Zero Kilometres” - as local as local can get in other words. The first is made with various cheeses from the Sorrentine Peninsula, such as fior di latte and treccia with grated lemon peel and lots of fresh basil. Then, as the name suggests, there’s the Caprese Pizza, available only from June to September, made with oven-baked fior di latte and mozzarella, then topped with Sorrento’s incredible fresh tomatoes upon exiting the oven.
“The concept of gourmet pizza is very wide-spread and starts with a rigorous choice of ingredients, beginning with the choice of flour, such as wheat germ, whole-wheat and semi-whole-wheat,” explains Monti. “Particular attention is given to the time allotted to the leavening of the dough to allow for better digestibility and, also, the choice of local ingredients that will define the kind of pizza. In this sense, pizza is no longer just a sort of “street food”, but a highly studied and refined creation.”
Francesco Monti deals with the flour producer Molino Denti. Chefs Giuseppe Saccone and Benito Iaccarino, pizzaiolo of the hotel for forty years, trained with Valerio Iessi of the Liceo della Pizza - the Pizza High School!
Benito Iaccarino, for forty years the historic pizza chef of the Hotel Mediterraneo Sorrento
“Of course, we use products from zero kilometres away, such as the Caseificio Perrusio and the oils of Gargiulo”, concludes Francesco Monti, mentioning the best pizzerias of Sorrento: “Da Franco” near the Stazione Circumvesuviana, Acqu’e sale of the celebrated pizzaiolo Antonino Esposito, the historic Pizzeria Aurora in Piazza Torquato Tasso, and, among the latest openings in Sorrento, the Neapolitan pizzeria Trianon in Piazza Angelina Lauro. Finally, don’t miss out on the “pizza by the metre” at Da Gigino in Vico Equense launched by Luigi Dell’Amura back in the 1930s. The recipe, with its international patent dating back to 1960, calls for rolling out the dough to a certain length before filling it with various ingredients.
Author: Fabio Pariante - © 2018 ARTE.it for Nozio Business