Some pizzerias are looking to find that certain something to give them the edge. Some have decided that becoming certified Neapolitan is the perfect option, while others are not quite buying into that idea.
Justin Piazza believes that his restaurants offer true Italian pizza and he has the certification to back his claim. He is one of the growing group of food entrepreneurs who has earned the seal of approval from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. This non-profit organization was founded 30 years ago with the mission of promoting and protecting the art of Neapolitan pizza.
The association believes that pizza that is made according to the “traditional methods” can be made anywhere as long as it follows the right standards. Justin Piazza invested in $25,000 in equipment including a wood-burning oven to earn his Vera PizzaNapoletana (VPN) certification.
It took 6 months to learn the techniques required for this type of pizza making. They consider the dough handling not just a technique, but an art. According to Mr. Piazza, New York style pizza is cheesier and more bready than its Neapolitan counterpart.
The VPN program is not widely sought after in the United States as of yet. There are approximately 76 certified restaurants. Internationally, there are 500 with Italy being the home to most of them. There is a school in Los Angeles area that offers a three day program. It is priced at $1,650.
Not all pizza restaurant owners or pizza fans are enthralled with the certification program. Some have not even heard of it.
The beauty of Neapolitan Pizza is its simplicity according to its supporters. Dough is comprised of flour, water, yeast and sea salt. In generally fresh mozzarella is used for the cheese. Wood burning ovens, which can reach 1000 degrees, can cook a pizza in 60-90 seconds.