Italy Cooking Vacations: The Art of Neapolitan-Style Pizza

October 26, 2012  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Italy Cooking Vacations: The Art of Neapolitan-Style Pizza

Pizzerias and cooking classes about pizza abound in Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast — but what makes the thin-crust pizza in Italy so different? Or maybe "different" isn't the right word. After all, Italians made the pizza famous, and as such, their recipes are the foundation for the pizzas that followed. The recipe for the now infamous dish started back in the 10th century when it was just a piece of dough used to test the temperature inside an oven. It wasn't until the 19th century, 1889 to be exact, that the popularity of pizza really started.

It began in the kitchen of Raffaele Esposito, a baker who owned a tavern called Pizzeria di Petro e Basta Cosi. As the story goes, King Umberto and Queen Margherita commissioned three kinds of pizzas. One of those was made with patriotic colored ingredients — red tomato sauce, white mozzarella and green basil, the colors of the Italian flag — and it ended up being the Queen's favorite, hence it's name even today: Pizza Margherita.

Pizza has taken many shapes and featured many flavors over the years, but there's something special and different about the pizza it Italy. Maybe it's the '00' flour they use that rarely has sugar in it, or maybe it's the special wood-fire ovens. Whatever it is, the pizza in Southern Italy is part of the region's very culture and has been for centuries.

Every family has their own special touches when making their thin-crust pizza. Chef Carmen of our cooking vacation "Mediterranean Cooking Experience" delights in showing how she creates true Neapolitan-style pizza. On day six of the itinerary, you'll get your hands dirty as you make the pizza dough in the morning and enjoy the fruits of your labor that night for dinner.

You can also learn about making true Italian pizza on the Amalfi Coast at "Cooking Under a Golden Sunset" during a hands-on cooking class and "Sorrento Cooking Experience" with a pizza demonstration in which they use, of course, a wood-fired oven.

The Sorrento and Amalfi Coasts aren't the only place to discover the art of pizza either. Chef Claudio in Tuscany can also do pizza cooking classes on request, and he'll show just how different pizza from one region to the next can be.

Interested in a pizza cooking class or cooking vacation? Contact us today.

By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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