Naples PizzaFest pays tribute to a tasty hometown tradition
NAPLES, Italy — Contrary to remarks uttered last year by a couple of sailors making a brief port visit to Naples, pizza was not invented in New York. Or Chicago.
Nope, Naples is the birthplace of the pie, and beginning Thursday, Neapolitans will put on a 10-day spectacular festival to celebrate the humble origins of the pizza, which is now world-renowned.
“The PizzaFest is a very important, and tasty, one for us,” said Ciro Palumbo, a pizzaiolo, or pizza maker, at the MMP pizzeria, a small locale near the U.S. Navy base at Capodichino.
The event primarily will be held in the expo area of the Mostra d’Oltremare in the Fuorigrotta area of downtown Naples. It runs from 7 to midnight nightly, from Thursday through Sept. 17, and tickets cost 9 euros from Thursday through Sunday, and 6 euros Monday through Wednesday.
Visitors can sink their teeth into the famed-yet-simple pizza Margherita, made just with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, other traditional pizzas, or creative concoctions of area pizzaioli.
Cabaret shows, orchestras and concerts also will be going on.
From the humble and poverty-stricken streets in the 1800s came the simple yeast-and-flour pie, topped with a few fresh ingredients, and baked in a brick oven.
“The way it’s cooked is the reason I like it so much,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Guimont of Navy Region Europe. “The wood-burning stove, that’s the key to creating a great tasting pizza. … If I could eat it every day for every meal, I would.”
Though the average price of 5 euros might get pricey over time, he said.
His wife, Sidney Guimont, however, isn’t crazy about the Italian food staple.
A few pizza places here and there, like a little joint in Pisa, satisfy the palette, but mostly she’s not a fan of the 10- to 12-inch diameter thin-crusted pizzas.
For her, the Papa John’s brand in the States takes the, err, pie.
For more information, go online to www.pizzafest.info (in Italian only).