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Naples pizza gets EU laurel

Accolade will protect it from inferior clones

10 December, 09:33
Naples pizza gets EU laurel

(ANSA) - Brussels, December 9 - Real Naples-style pizza on Wednesday received a European Union quality seal protecting it from imitations.

The EU's quality food board awarded a long-sought TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) label to Naples' gift to food lovers.

"By protecting pizza we have safeguarded the history, culture and tradition of the Neapolitan people," said Rosario Lopa, president of a committee that has lobbied for the laurel. ''This is a historic result for the Naples economy,'' Lopa added.

Antonio Pace, President of the Real Neapolitan Pizza Association, called the TSG laurel ''a milestone and, above all, a way to stop stuff that isn't really pizza being touted as such,'' he said.

He stressed the importance of making sure that the accolade only covers 'Pizza napoletana prodotta secondo la tradizione napoletana' (Neapolitan Pizza Made According to Neapolitan Tradition).

''The produce that goes into it, the ways of making and baking it, the whole process of assembling the finished package must be rigorously verified,'' he said.

''We'll have to be very careful about that''.

The recognition will be valid in all EU countries and ''anyone who claims to be producing real Neapolitan pizza will be subject to strict inspections,'' he said.

''Too many people have been setting themselves up as pizzaiuoli (pizza-makers) without the proper training. That's caused huge market problems,'' Pace added.

Neapolitan pizza-makers have been fighting for 25 years to have their unique product put on the EU's list of protected foods.

"Europe has finally rewarded the tenacity of the Naples producers," said Italian Agriculture Minister Luca Zaia.

"It is a symbol of Neapolitan tradition that has, for far too long, been the subject of dreadful imitations".

Italian farming association Coldiretti stressed the importance of the laurel in helping fight pizzas produced with "cheese from Eastern Europe instead of traditional mozzarella, Chinese tomatoes, Tunisian or Spanish olive oil and Canadian or Ukrainian flour".

It noted that pizza was the best-known Italian word abroad followed by cappuccino, spaghetti and espresso. The pizza from the southern Italian city is universally recognised as the benchmark for pizza everywhere.

The leader of the Neapolitan association of pizzaiuoli, Sergio Miccu, said in the run-up to the award: ''Ours is a job that takes a year or a year and a half to learn and only by sticking close to people who can hand down all the secrets of this art,'' he said.

The lobbies and city authorities said there would be a "huge" pizza party to celebrate Wednesday's long-awaited news.

Miccu said: ''It's going to be unforgettable''.

The campaign to give Neapolitan pizza a seal worthy of its renown began in 2000 with then farm minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio who set up a committee of experts to lay down what should go into the world-famous dish and how it should be made.


True pizza, they concluded, must be made only of durum wheat flour, fresh yeast, water and sea salt, with a topping of olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes (in slices no thicker than 8mm) and mozzarella di bufala, the fresh cheese made of buffalo milk.

The tough specifications obviously rule out a vast array of foods that pass for pizza around the world.

Pizza is one of the few foods composed almost exclusively of the region's three PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) products as already recognized by the EU: San Marzano tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil from Campania, and mozzarella di bufala.

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