My wife and I recently got back from a Mediterranean cruise. One of our stops on the cruise was in Naples, where pizza was invented. While we were there, we got to try some of the pizza, and it was incredible.
I had heard of a pizzeria in Naples called Da Michele, which is supposed to have the best pizza in the world. They have only two kinds of pizza at Da Michele. The first type of pizza is Pizza Marinara, which is topped simply with tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Their other pizza is Pizza Margherita, which is topped with tomatoes, mozzerella, and basil. Pizza Margherita is named after Queen Margherita, who was married to King Umberto I. The Pizza Margherita also represents the colors of the Italian flag, red, white, and green.
Neapolitan pizza is much different than we are used to in the United States. Here, we top pizzas with pepperoni, sausage, canadian bacon, peppers, mushrooms, olives, and a load of cheese. We have thin crust New York pizzas, and Chicago deep dish pizzas, as well as many other variations. In Naples, they have pizzas other than Marinara and Margherita, but those two are the staples of Neapolitan pizza. In Naples, and the rest of Italy for that matter, the pizzas are not as big as American Pizzas. The typical pizza in Naples is about 12 inches, and is intended to be one serving. That might seem a lot, but the pizza is much lighter than ours. My wife polished off a Pizza Marinara by herself.
In Naples, the pizza crust is thin and chewy. The pizzas are baked quickly in a very hot, wood fired oven. Ours was ready just minutes after we had ordered them. They do not load the pizzas as heavily with toppings as we do, but their ingredients are in perfect balance.
As I stated earlier, I had heard of a pizzeria called Da Michele, so when we had a chance to go into Naples on our own, we went looking for Da Michele. Unfortunately, many of the streets in Naples are not marked, so we easily got lost. Eventually, however, I did find a landmark which I recognized from the map, so we got turned in the right direction, and we found Da Michele… and a huge line. We decided that we didn’t want to wait that long. Fortunately, there was another pizzeria nearby which was not as crowded. So, my wife and I went in and ordered. We had a bit of trouble, since neither of us speak Italian, but we got our order. My wife had the Marinara, and I had the Margherita. I have to say that was the best pizza that I have ever had. All of the ingredients were in perfect balance, and the flavors blended together wonderfully.
The next time we’re in Naples, I definitely plan on going back to the pizzeria that we visited. I can’t remember the name, but I remember where it is. But until our next visit, I may just have to have a pizza oven built in my back yard, so I can make Neapolitan Pizza at home.