Pizza pastas waltzed through the air, and several restaurants handed out tickets to passers-by early Thursday morning in Naples to celebrate the inscription of the local specialty on UNESCO heritage.
“For us it’s like winning the World Cup,” says Gennaro Gattimolo, a 57-year-old pizza maker with apron and hands covered with flour.
Rita Rollen, a retired woman, wrapped herself up to face the cold of the early morning and come to participate in the euphoria: “I’m really happy, instead of the Camorra (the Neapolitan mafia), we are recognized for something positive for once! Something delicious! ”
“There’s nothing better than celebrating with pizza at breakfast,” said 47-year-old Marco Toeldo, who is third.
In a very superstitious city, the party started on Wednesday evening in front of the Sorbillo pizzeria. “After 250 years of waiting, the pizza is part of the Unesco heritage! Bravo Naples!”, Launched a pizza-maker, Enzo Coccia, to the applause of the crowd.
Even the defeat of Naples in the Champions League in the evening had not showered the enthusiasm of pizza lovers: discs dough danced in the air to celebrate this art that goes from wood ovens used for cooking to this spectacular way of handling the dough to oxygenate it.
“For centuries, the Neapolitan art of pizza has been based on a few key elements: water, flour, salt and yeast … and the excellent products of Campania all around”, explained Mr. Coccia.
“But it’s also the hands, the heart and soul of the pizzaïolo that allow us to do magic,” he added, describing the handling of dough in the air as “a love and passion that we transmit to others “.
The humble ancestor of the pizza was initially a flat bread sprinkled with a little bacon and was less of an act of love than the need to feed the poor masses of the city at low cost according to the historian Antonio Mattozzi.
– Stop Heresies –
The first real pizzas appear with the arrival of tomatoes from America and their entry into the kitchen. “At the end of the eighteenth century, the first pizzerias were born,” he says.
But it was not until another century and Queen Margherita that this great local success was exported beyond the bay. On a visit to Naples with her husband King Umberto I in 1889, she asked to taste the pizza to win the hearts of Neapolitans.
According to legend, the version proposed by the chef Raffaele Esposito, integrating tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, in the colors of the very young Italy, conquered it.
For the occasion, this pizza that has kept the name of the queen was again cooked Wednesday in the same royal oven at the palace of Capodimonte, now a museum on the heights of Naples.
According to Gino Sorbillo, a pizza-maker participating in the operation, he and his colleagues willingly share tips and secrets “those who want it can make a good Neapolitan pizza”.
The idea being to first twist the neck to some heresies like spreading the dough with a roll or adding pineapple on the pizza.
“There are young people from all cultures who contact us and ask us to learn,” he added.
“The pizza has become a universal heritage, many in the world do not even know it’s Italian,” said Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, biting into a slice of pizza just out of the royal oven.
“This decision by UNESCO will establish the truth once and for all: pizza is a global dish, but it was born in Naples, in this oven,” he added.