In this series, we’re exploring various types of pizza –from crackery thin Milwaukee style pies to Chicago-style deep dish – and sussing out the secret sauce behind each one. View the full list of features in the Knead to Know series here.
Neapolitan pizza, often referred to as the “original pizza”, has a history that dates back over 800 years. Created in Napoli (now known as Naples, Italy), the pizza has a few defining characteristics.
The dough, made with 00 wheat flour, yeast, salt and water, is always hand formed. It’s thinnest at its base with airy, slightly puffed edges (the cornicione or crown) which are dappled with char (leopard spotting) from being baked in a 900-degree F wood-fired oven. It’s topped (at minimum) with mozzarella cheese, a simple sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes (plus basil and olive oil for a classic margherita).
Today, the time-honored pizza style is preserved through certification by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, an organization which trains pizzaiolos (master pizza makers), approves vendors and certifies pizzerias around the globe.
Certification requires adherence to traditional methods for producing authentic Neapolitan style pizza. Such certification requires that the pizza be made in accordance with a number of specifications, including ingredients, type of oven, baking temperature and the characteristics of the end product.
Milwaukee is home to just one restaurant which has earned the honor of VPN certification: San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana. To learn more about the process behind their pizza, we headed to the pizzeria to walk through the process with Owner Gino Fazzario and Executive Chef Robin Brown. [Video: Courtney Bondar]
Other local certified pizzerias
Harry’s Prohibition Bistro
668 S. Pier Dr., Sheboygan, (920) 451-9100
515 S. 8th St., Sheboygan, (920) 803-7516
15 N. Butler St., Madison, (608) 250-6330
Five more options
These eateries aren’t certified, but they offer pies that are squarely neapolitan style (or neo-neapolitan, if you’d prefer).
139 E. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 270-4433
Note: Through the end of October (National Pizza Month), Proof Pizza is offering two great deals. Buy any two signature pizzas, get the third pizza free. Or enjoy any signature pizza and draft beer for $15 every Monday-Friday from 2-5pm at the Bar inside Saint Kate (dine-in only).
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.