Praise for Italian pizza, nominated for intangible heritage of humanity status

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Etymology

Regardless of the transfers of meaning (changes in meaning, polysemy), the etymon of the word “pizza,” credited by most scholars as belonging to the central-southern area, and attested in medieval Latin (Gaeta, 997, Codex cajetanus), then in Sulmona: pizzas de pane (1201); piza panis in Pesaro (1531), is controversial. Perhaps from the Latin “placenta” (Cato, Horace, Petronius) which originally stood for flatbread. Some have recalled offa (mentioned in Pliny and Cicero) which, however, evokes meatball or mouthful. Synonyms now include focaccia itself, and, on a regional level, schiacciata, spianata, and stiacciata. Pizza-at least in culinary circles-is the best-known word abroad, even before, in order, cappuccino, spaghetti, espresso.

 

La Pizza Margherita

Year 1889. Pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito prepares for Queen Margherita, who likes it, a pizza inspired by the colors of the flag: green (basil), white (mozzarella) and red (tomato). En passant it is recalled that the buffalo was introduced to Italy by the Lombards and settled well in Latium and Campania. As for the tomato, its importation from America to Spain was due to Christopher Columbus. From the Iberian country the export to Naples is dated 1596. First used as an ornamental plant, the tomato became an integral and essential part of the now STG pizza around 1720, give or take a year.

 

Gastronomy

In the absence of regulatory regulation, pizza can be made as it pleases: therefore, it can only be defined and evaluated by the ingredients that are used. With a broad approximation, pizza can be defined as a food preparation made from flour, oil, salt, yeast, tomato, mozzarella cheese and mostly with added oregano, basil, mushrooms, ham, salami and so on listed.

 

Caloric value

Exemplifying, a three-ounce Neapolitan pizza (with tomato and mozzarella) contains approximately 18 grams of protein, 28 grams of fat, and 94 grams of carbon hydrates, or 717 calories.

 

The TSG

Rather than pizza in the singular, it seems more correct to speak of it in the plural. On the other hand, just think of the range of adjectives that are applied from time to time, often to the exclusion of one another. For texture: crispy, sweet, instant, rustic, salty, soft, true, and other attributes. For physical appearance: tall, short. But above all, it notes the extreme heterogeneity of the materials (ingredients) of which the mixture is composed. This being the case let us limit ourselves here to dealing with Neapolitan pizza recognized at the EU level as a TSG, traditional specialty guaranteed. A regulatory premise: in Regulation (EC) No.509/2006 (in force since April of that year) on traditional specialties guaranteed, TSG means a traditional agricultural product or foodstuff, the specificity of which is recognized by the Community through the continuously updated registration of traditional specialties.

To benefit from the TSG designation, the product must comply with a specification, containing standards, description of the product and production method, clear elements to define the specialty of the product and attest to its traditionality, and control procedures. Subsequently, Regulation (EU) no. 97/2010 of the Commission brought the registration of the name in the “Pizza Napoletana” TSG register. Pizza is presented as a round baked product with a variable diameter of no more than 35 centimeters, with the edge raised by one to two centimeters (so-called cornicione) and with the central part 0.4 centimeter thick and covered with filling. In the center will stand out the red of the tomato, perfectly blended with the oil, and, depending on the other ingredients used, the green of the oregano and basil, the white of the garlic and the mozzarella (buffalo cheese from Campania PDO or that STG) in more or less close patches, The texture of the pizza will be soft, elastic, easily bendable. The basic materials are: type 00 wheat flour, with possible addition of type 0 flour, brewer’s yeast, natural drinking water, peeled tomatoes and/or fresh cherry tomatoes, sea or cooking salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Other ingredients that can be used: the aforementioned garlic and oregano, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil.

 

What are the differences between the Marinara and the Margherita?

The first (which probably owes its name to the fact that the easily preserved ingredients could be brought by sailors during their long wanderings) is stuffed with peeled and/or fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt, oregano and garlic. The second with peeled tomatoes and/or fresh cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt, buffalo mozzarella DOP or Mozzarella STG and basil. Extensively described by the specification in Section 3.6 is the method of production of the product-which, moreover, is not commercially permissible either frozen, deep-frozen or vacuum-processing-which pertains to six specific moments, to be carried out in a continuous cycle in the same exercise: 1) dough, 2) rising, 3) shaping, 4) stuffing, 5) cooking and 6) storage. 1. Dough. Flour, water, salt and yeast are mixed together. Inside a mixer, preferably a fork mixer, one liter of water is poured, 50-55 grams of salt is dissolved, and 10 percent of the flour is added to the total amount; immediately after that, the mixer is started and 1,800 grams of flour is gradually added until the desired consistency, called dough point, is reached. The operation takes ten minutes. The dough should then be kneaded for twenty minutes until a compact paste is obtained, which should be non-sticky to the touch, soft, elastic, and have specific characteristics as to fermentation temperature, final PH, total titratable acidity, and density. 2. Leavening. Two phases can be distinguished. In the first, the dough is placed on a work table, where it is allowed to rest for two hours, covered with a damp cloth. After the two hours have elapsed, the loaf is formed by hand. A portion of risen dough is cut from the dough and given precisely a loaf shape, weighing 180 to 250 grams. Having formed the buns (staglio), another rising (second stage) is carried out in food boxes lasting four to six hours. The dough, stored at room temperature, will then be ready to be used in the next six hours. 3. Molding (shaping). The preforms, shaped by hand, rest for about 30 minutes. 4. Stuffing. For the two types, the above-mentioned way in which Neapolitan STG pizza is stuffed differs. 5. Cooking. It must take place exclusively in wood-fired ovens at a temperature that can go up to 485 degrees. 6. Preservation. Neapolitan pizza should preferably be eaten immediately, fresh out of the oven, on the same premises where it was made. If not consumed on the production premises, pizza may not be frozen or deep-frozen or placed in a vacuum for later sale.

 

The frozen pizza

The first frozen pizza dates back to 1945, packaged on an area expedition. With the exception of isolated productions of excellence, for which the quality of raw materials and prolonged natural leavening for 36 hours provide a tasty and highly digestible pizza, the process in use is standard. In brief, we describe a standard procedure. Several machines are needed. For the base, a mixer mixes multiple ingredients for four minutes: water, yeast, salt, white flour, oil, sugar and, for flavoring purposes, cornmeal. The dough rises for about thirty minutes. Other machinery divides the whole into smaller parts. The resulting portions are rolled out with special flat leaf rollers two and a half inches thick. Other rollers give the dough an even consistency. A few spatulas will make the dough smooth. Then stainless steel devices will drill it seven to ten millimeters deep to prevent air bubbles from forming. Next, other plastic mechanism will cut the dough to give it the classic round shape. The resulting disks of dough are finally destined for the oven, where they bake for two minutes at a temperature fluctuating between 200 and 300 degrees. Indi we move on to laying the tomato, followed by laying the mozzarella, cut into minute pieces. Other distributor provides for the insertion of different ingredients (such as peppers, salami, and other types of meat) that gradually fall onto the base. Checks are then made, which are carried out on a random basis. Near the final stage a spiral freezer intervenes for about twenty minutes at minus 31, 5 degrees. Finally the packaging stage, during which an optical inspection system will discard defective products: all that remains is boxing in cartons for distribution to the market. 

(Bruno Nobile)