Pizza has become a beloved culinary staple worldwide, with countless variations and adaptations catering to diverse palates. Amidst the plethora of pizza styles, the Neapolitan pizza — hand-crafted, artisan, stone oven baked, and oozing authenticity — stands as a symbol of Italian culinary tradition and excellence. La Ruota brings this slice of Italian heritage to Canadian pizza aficionados and newcomers alike by serving up authentic Neapolitan pizzas with quality ingredients and dedication to the craft. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the art of Neapolitan pizza, exploring the significance of its ingredients, techniques, and history to help you better appreciate and savour the mastery of each bite.
The concept of pizza traces its roots back to Ancient Egypt, where bread was first baked on hot stones. Over the centuries, the concept travelled through Greece, Rome, and eventually arrived in Naples. It was here, in the late 1700s, that pizza started to take the shape of the delectable dish we recognize and love today. Neapolitan pizza evolved from the humble combination of flatbread, tomatoes, and eventually, cheese and other toppings. What truly sets Neapolitan pizza apart is its dedication to upholding tradition, utilizing high-quality ingredients and time-honoured techniques to create a simple yet sophisticated delicacy.
La Ruota's pizza masters are dedicated to ensuring that every pizza they serve meets the standards of traditional Neapolitan pies. They use a strict combination of ingredients, from the fine '00' flour for the dough to the San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella from the Campania region. The secret, however, is not only in the quality of these ingredients but the skill and knowledge of the pizzaiolo in crafting a dough that is both light and tender, with a perfect balance of crunch and softness.
Neapolitan pizza is more than just a meal; it's an experience that transports you to the streets of Naples, with the aroma of fresh basil and bubbling cheese wafting through the air, mingling with the warm embrace of a hand-crafted, artisan, stone oven. Join us as we explore the fascinating history behind the art of Neapolitan pizza, take you through the essential techniques for crafting the perfect pie, and share why staying true to the roots of Neapolitan tradition is crucial in achieving a pizza that truly captures the essence of Italy. Whether you're a lifelong pizza enthusiast or a curious foodie looking for something new, prepare to embark on a culinary journey that will surely leave you craving a delicious slice.
The Origins of Neapolitan Pizza: A Historical Culinary Journey
The story of Neapolitan pizza begins in the 18th century when Naples, a bustling coastal city in southern Italy, served as home to a growing number of working-class people. These residents, known as "lazzaroni," endeavoured to find a simple, affordable, and quick meal source to sustain their daily life. The answer emerged in the form of flatbread, topped with tomatoes, garlic, lard, and cheese. As this street food staple gained popularity, the first pizzerias emerged, offering fast service and a taste of the burgeoning Neapolitan cuisine. By the 19th century, pizza had transformed into the mouth-watering Neapolitan pie we know and adore today.
An Iconic Standard: The Pizza Margherita
No exploration of Neapolitan pizza is complete without delving into the origin story of the iconic Margherita pizza. Legend has it that, in 1889, Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples with her husband King Umberto I. In an attempt to appease the Queen’s desire to sample local cuisine, a pizzaiolo named Raffaele Esposito crafted a unique, patriotic flatbread incorporating the colours of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil. The rest, as they say, is pizza history. The Queen's seal of approval signified pizza’s official elevation from street food to a national culinary emblem.
Artisan Techniques and Ingredients: Crafting the Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
The secret to an excellent Neapolitan pizza lies in its ingredients and the techniques employed to bring each element together harmoniously. La Ruota's pizza masters strive to uphold these time-honoured traditions, ensuring every artisan pie meets the Neapolitan standards of excellence.
1. The Dough: A Foundation of Flavour and Texture
At the heart of Neapolitan pizza lies an impeccably crafted dough, brought to life by combining high-quality '00' flour, water, salt, and yeast. This extra-fine flour, with a lower gluten content, imparts a delicate, silky texture. After mixing these key ingredients, the dough is meticulously hand-kneaded and set to rest for a carefully allotted time, allowing it to achieve the quintessential balance of elasticity and tenderness.
2. The Sauce: Rich Simplicity
Neapolitan pizza sauce leans heavily on one crucial ingredient: San Marzano tomatoes, hailed for their sweet, tangy flavour and low seed count. These tomatoes, grown in volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius, are combined with salt and perhaps a touch of oil or basil to create a minimalistic yet robust sauce. The sauce's rich and bright essence shines through without overshadowing other toppings.
3. The Cheese: Authenticity and Freshness
To avoid the pitfalls of excess moisture and unlock the true flavours of Neapolitan pizza, fresh mozzarella cheese – either fior di latte or the revered buffalo mozzarella – is a must. Carefully hand-sliced and gently laid atop the sauce, the cheese adds a creamy richness to the pie without overwhelming the other ingredients.
4. The Stone Oven: A Labour of Love
In Neapolitan pizza tradition, a wood-fired stone oven serves not only as a cooking vessel, but also as a symbol of dedication and craftsmanship. The oven's intensely high heat provides pizza chefs with a window of mere minutes – sometimes less – to perfect their pies. The mastery and control showcased by an expert pizzaiolo operating a stone oven is a testament to their artistry.
Applauding the Marriage of Tradition and Modernity
While the foundation of authentic Neapolitan pizza lies in its techniques and ingredients, there is also room for innovation in toppings and flavour combinations. La Ruota honours the history and spirit of Neapolitan pizza, while thoughtfully providing modern, imaginative toppings that pay homage to the ever-evolving palates of contemporary diners.
A Taste of Napoli in the Heart of Canada
La Ruota's commitment to upholding the traditions of Neapolitan pizza offers Canadian food lovers an authentic taste of Italian culinary culture. As you bite into their hand-crafted, artisan, stone oven baked creations, allow yourself to be transported to the vibrant pizzerias lining the streets of Naples. Neapolitan pizza is not just a dish; it is an emblem of Italian history, a testament to the artisan techniques passed down through generations, and a reminder of the harmony that emerges when high-quality ingredients are elevated to their fullest potential. So, the next time you find yourself craving a slice of la dolce vita, La Ruota's expertly crafted Neapolitan pizzas await you, ready to delight and enchant your senses.
Looking for authentic Neapolitan pizza in Vancouver? Look no further than La Ruota Pizzeria, the partner brand of Pizza Garden. Our hand-crafted, artisan, stone oven baked pizzas are the perfect choice for a delicious and satisfying meal. Enjoy contactless delivery service and taste the difference of La Ruota's authentic Neapolitan-style pizza today!