Neapolitan Pizza: The Secret Sauce
No matter how you slice it – Naples is teeming with life, activity and even a bit of chaos – and this is part of the charm. Both cacophonous and cultured, this is the real Italy – bustling and brimming with people who are ready to tell you the best place to grab a piece of their national pride: the pizza.
But what makes it so delicioso? If we told you, we’d have to kill you. (No, no, we’re kidding.) It’s simply the red, plump, sublime San Marzano tomato. Not your average garden variety plucked and thrown in a produce bin at the supermarket. This tomato has a story.
Preferred by gourmet chefs and old Italian grandmothers, the San Marzano tomato is one of mouthwatering myth. According to legend, the first seeds were a gift from the King of Peru to the King of Naples during the 1770s. These seeds were then planted near the city of San Marzano in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius where the volcanic-rich soil and Mediterranean climate worked it’s magic creating this juicy fruit (which it is) of the vine.
Today, these tomatoes can only be considered “certified San Marzano” when grown in the Campania region of Italy, which includes Salerno, Naples and a small part of Avellino. You’ll pay a hefty price for sauce and paste made with these prized plum jewels – but you’ll surely taste the difference.
Back to the pizza. For true, Neapolitan pizza, you may be surprised to see there’s no heaping, bubbling cheese on top. It’s just crust and a sauce so good it needs no companion.
For an ooey-gooey slice made with melt-in-your-mouth mozzerell, take the your Eurail Italy Pass and hop on Frenciarossa Italia for the 2.5 hour trip from Naples to Rome. Enjoy an espresso and biscotti to satiate you in between pizza tastings.
Each of Italy’s regions has their own take on pizza, pasta, sauces, olive oil and just about anything edible. With an efficient rail system, you can easily taste your way from top to toe of one of the world’s great culinary countries.