July 2, 2009

True That: Pizza Ovens Must Be Bell-Shaped

Once again, Cornichon is otherwise engaged. Once again, Jacqueline Pruner, amateur blogger (and professional attorney) steps in. Her report below.

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The scene: Via Tribunali in Georgetown. The judges: a delegation of four pizzaioli from Naples, representing the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. Seven applicants: Tutta Bella's new Issaquah location (incidentally, the first Seattle establishment to become VPN certified); Ristorante Picolinos, Pizzeria Pulcinella, and Via Tribunali’s Belltown, Fremont, Georgetown, and Queen Anne locations. The evidence, presented over several days: authentic pizzas from authentic pizza ovens.

AVPN's purpose is to ensure that pizzas are made the traditional way. Based in Naples – the birthplace of pizza – it allows the use of its collective certification trademark (i.e., brand name and logo) only after a rigorous set of regulations are met, including specific standards for ingredients, cooking and production methods, and the characteristics of the finished pizza. Take Article 3, entitled “Required equipment”, subsection 3.3, entitled “Wood” describes the wood permitted to heat the bell-shaped ovens (which, yes, according to subsection 3.3.1 and entitled “The pizza oven” must be bell-shaped, as it has been for centuries): “Wood that does not hold any moisture, smoke or produce odours that alter the aroma of the pizza in any way is required to cook Verace Pizza Napoletana. (The Association recommends oak, ash, beech and maple.) More legalese here.

Seattle is now the U.S. city with the highest density of certified Neapolitan pizzerias. (Take that, Noo Yawk! ) The attorney in me is drawn to the stringent regulations required for certification, but the proof is in the eating. My inner foodie loves the fact it’s simply an excellent thin-crust pizza reminiscent of the pies I enjoyed with such gusto in Naples.

Summary judgment: they came, they saw, they certified. Mission accomplished, case closed.

Posted by Ronald Holden at July 2, 2009 12:00 AM | TrackBack

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