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La pizza napoletana in Oriente
Ciao and the Far Eastern side of the Neapolitan pizza 845 445 Alessandra

Ciao and the Far Eastern side of the Neapolitan pizza

Being at the service of the artisans of 91 countries means knowing how to interpret in a thousand ways the cultural nuances of the word Naples. What does it mean, for example, to be a Neapolitan pizza maker in China? Let’s find out together with our two artisans and special envoys: Angelo Tramontano e Maurizio Iannicelli.

Pizza is definitely the world most eaten dish, but also the most imitated, not always with versions faithful to the Neapolitan original.

The dream held by the ‘Disciplinare’ – the Official Specifications of the True Neapolitan Pizza – is to bring the White Art of the Vesuvius all over the world, through the right techniques and ingredients.

And to tell the world about the specificities of the tomato of Naples is precisely the aim of Ciao’s travels.

So, on the occasion of the Caputo Cup in Nanjing and of FHC China, we unleashed two artisans wearing the chef jacket of Ciao – Il Pomodoro di Napoli, asking them to find out the state of the art of the pizza in the Far East.

Here is the travel diary of Maurizio Iannicelli of Pizzeria Napul’è and Angelo Tramontano of ‘O Sarracino.

What they think about the pizza in China?

“The Chinese people go crazy for Italian cuisine and especially for Neapolitan pizzas!” – tells us Maurizio Iannicelli of Pizzeria Napul’è – “Chinese pizza makers give great attention to the Neapolitan technique and to the quality of Italian products e there is a lot of passion from the enthusiasts and from simple gourmands who tend to identify the pizza with the ingredients – like Ciao tomatoes – as the only dressing for a true dish.

How is the working style of the Chinese pizza makers?

“Humble, clean, educated, with so much enthusiasm and desire to learn: this is the common portrait for the many Chinese pizza chefs we met on our trip to the Far East” – explains Angelo Tramontano of Pizzeria ‘O Sarracino – ” During the master classes we held in Nanjing, we touched with hand their great passion and the desire to get in touch with the Neapolitan culture, though also the knowledge of the specifics of the ingredients of our territory, like Ciao tomatoes.

So how would you describe the state of the (white) art in the Far East?

“APN, the many producers from Campania working on spreading the Neapolitanity, and the ‘Disciplinare’ of the true pizza are doing a lot to export the Neapolitan side of the pizza” – conclude Maurizio Iannicelli and Angelo Tramontano – “Of course, there are aspects still to refine, but thanks also to the new video technologies that bring nations closer, pizza ha restarted to speak Neapolitan in so many countries all around the of the world!

Luigi Greco: campionato nazionale Pizza doc 2018
The ingredients from Campania according to the winner of the National Pizza Doc Championship 845 445 Alessandra

The ingredients from Campania according to the winner of the National Pizza Doc Championship

This is Luigi Greco, winner of the 5th edition of the Pizza Doc National Championship, recently held in Nocera Inferiore, and of which Ciao – Il Pomodoro di Napoli is proudly a partner. Luigi is a very young boy, but he is already #pizzamakerinside, as he loves to define himself. Let’s get to know him together.

The 5th edition of the Pizza Doc National Championship, which ended on November 13th in Nocera Inferiore, saw high quality performances and a lot of enthusiasm, not only for a profession more and more keeping up with the times and inextricably linked to the territory, but also for a competition mechanism that highlights the figure of the pizza maker.

The competition

The Pizza Doc National Championship is indeed the first competition with a hidden jury in which the judges have no contacts with competitors before expressing their verdict. A judgment therefore completely based on the quality of the final product: and this is what made our Luigi Greco the winner.

The winner

Luigi took part in the competition with two specialties: a Pizza Margherita and a Classic Pizza with a dressing of French violet potato purée and Agerola fiordilatte cheese put on before the baking, and purple potato chips, pork cheek and parmesan cheese fondue added at the exit from the oven, plus a decoration of basil and edible flowers.

“My classic pizza reflects a bit of my personality as a craftsman – Luigi tells us – It is in fact a full flavor pizza: strong and delicate at the same time. This is how I mean my job as a pizza chef, a job that combines my great passion with traditional ingredients, like the San Marzano tomatoes that I used for my Margherita, while never forgetting creativity and always respecting the territory.”

Luigi defines himself as a #pizzaiolodentro – literally “a pizza maker inside” – which is also the name of the group to which he belongs.
“Being #pizzaiolodentro – explains us – means combining play and work, innovation and tradition.”

And this is also the philosophy that guides his search for ingredients for his flagship pizzas – Margherita and Marinara.
“I like to create new combinations, but everything must always start from the respect for the Campanian tradition – Luigi concludes – The tomato, for example, must be naturally preserved, without the addition of additives and as much as possible locally produced, and so truly Made in Italy.”
A precise and winning philosophy that we hope he will keep in the new pizzeria that Luigi is about to open in Salerno, thanks also to the results just achieved.

campione del mondo della Pizza Stg 2018
The world champion for the STG Pizza and the recipe for a perfect Margherita 845 445 Alessandra

The world champion for the STG Pizza and the recipe for a perfect Margherita

What turns a Pizza Margherita into a pizza worthy of the podium of the Caputo Trophy? Antonio Mezzero, the world champion for the STG pizza, tell it us.
The Neapolitan pizza found its new ambassador.

His name is Antonio Mezzero and he is the winner of the 17th World Pizza maker Championship.
STG pizza is the one that follows the official specifications of the true Neapolitan pizza: a set of ten rules that guarantees worldwide that the product baked in the oven is the same as that eaten in Naples.

Precisely for this reason, the podium for the STG pizza is the most coveted by APN’s pizza makers who take part in the Caputo Trophy and is the one that designates the pizza world champion for a year!
The official specifications for the STG pizza have also precise rules that define the right ingredients to use for a true Neapolitan pizza.

In the codified recipe of Neapolitan pizza, the long tomato of Ciao’s peeled tomatoes is the master. It is no coincidence that Ciao is the official tomato of the seventeenth edition of the World Pizza Maker Championship.
The 2018 edition of the Caputo Trophy has seen as is triumpher Antonio Mezzero, 35 years old, a Neapolitan, but living in Portugal.
We asked him how to make a world champion pizza!

Here are his secrets.


What are the most important ingredients for making a successful pizza?

The recipe for a pizza at the top sees the passion in pole position. Then there are the doughs. But among the toppings, the king of taste remains the tomato! For the Portuguese people, even mozzarella comes second. The tomato is the heart of the final judgment of a dish.

What does the Portuguese tomato taste like?

Portugal enjoys high quality products, perhaps not much publicized, but a Neapolitan pizza requires the Italian tomato. Italian vegetables have a completely different flavor!

How should be the right tomato for the STG pizza?

The right product is the one that can be used in purity without adding anything: not even salt. It should not be too sweet or too sour, and should be broken with your hands. In short, the right tomato is the one that gives back the flavor of the field!

Ciao wishes so much success to the new pizza ambassador in the world and is proud to have contributed to enhance the art of the first World Champion of an Unesco Heritage!

Michele D'Amelio
Tu vuò fa l’americano: the story of Michele D’Amelio, Ambassador for Ciao in the USA 845 445 Alessandra

Tu vuò fa l’americano: the story of Michele D’Amelio, Ambassador for Ciao in the USA

Neapolitan pizza is the most imitated dish in the world, so it is up to us to defend its values of authenticity and its original recipe. Ciao, and many great players of the Made in Italy have been following this commitment very seriously since generations. Here we tell you the story of  Michele D’Amelio, ambassador of the goodness of our tomatoes in the USA.

“Tu vuò fa l’americano ma si nato in Italy”… you want to be like an American, but you were born in Italy… so Renato Carosone sang in one of his most celebrated hits, but it wasn’t like that for Michele.

He decided to be like an American to explain in the new continent what distinguishes the Neapolitan pizza from the stars and stripes pizza.

A life of travel, hands in the dough, fairs, seminars, master classes, and of his own pizzeria: Chest’è Pizza, in Lioni, Province of Avellino, taken over in 2010 to leave a piece of heart in Italy, though part of his family now lives in New York.
Michele’s days pass flying from one country to another around the United States.

Here is what he tells us between a takeoff and landing during #viaggidipizza.

How long have you been using Ciao tomatoes?
I knew Ciao tomatoes when I opened my pizzeria in the province of Avellino. And it was love at first taste. Then, after a couple of years, I decided to start my American adventure together with APN and there I could deepen the uniqueness of the products from South Italy.

Why so much passion for our tomato?

My job is to tell the Neapolitan cuisine to the American insiders. I show how to prepare a good Neapolitan pizza, a good ragu, or a good Italian pasta dish and choosing the right ingredients let me spare a lot of effort.

What distinguishes the Neapolitan pizza from the American one?
First of all the ingredients: flour, tomato, mozzarella, there is no comparison with those from Campania region. While our ingredients do not require additives to achieve the excellence of taste, I cannot say the same for so many products made in USA.

And the future? How do you see it?
I do not rule out the possibility of opening a pizzeria here, too. Opportunity never stops knocking in America, but I miss the simple things I cannot find here: a coffee at the bar, a walk to the square. The difference in the White Art is a mirror of the difference between lifestyles, and the Italian lifestyle is envied worldwide in this case, too!

raccolta con civitiello e fortunato
Harvest Diary 2017: A day with Davide Civitiello and Simone Fortunato 845 445 Alessandra

Harvest Diary 2017: A day with Davide Civitiello and Simone Fortunato

So much work, but a lot of satisfaction too: Summer is the time of harvest and of continuous quality testing for Ciao. This year, we brought with us an exceptional team of tasters – the World Pizza Champions Simone Fortunato and Davide Civitiello – to see first-hand the quality of our tomorrow tomatoes, starting right from the first step. Here is the story of this special day.

A summer both hot and exceptional for our fields, with record temperatures that forced us to work in shorter times to keep the product intact as freshly picked, but that at the same time that also brought intense colors and flavors to our crops.

We asked to two exceptional testers – Simone Fortunato, three times world champion for the fast pizza category, and Davide Civitiello, champion for the TSG pizza, both winners of the Caputo Trophy – to touch with first-hand the raw materials of our 2017-2018 production.

«Pizza is a dish strictly tied to the ground,” – tells Davide Civitiello – “because deepening your dough technique is not enough to produce excellence, as you have to carefully select raw materials and get to know their ingredients in detail. Pizza is a dish full of history, but also of stories: those of our producers from Campania region!»

For Davide Civitiello and Simone Fortunato a tour among the most lively colors of Campania: the red of our fields of PDO San Marzano tomatoes, but also the bright green of our basil crops that we add leaf after leaf to the peeled tomato cans for the American market.

«I had never seen how the basil grows – says Simone Fortunato of Pizzeria Diaz – Finding out first-hands how the ingredients that I pick each day for my pizzas grow has been stimulating, but also very instructive. For a pizza maker who wants to make a difference, it is very important to carefully select the products of their menu and know how to handle them by mastering all their properties.»

The day has been closed by a tour through the various steps of peeled tomato production, during which our pizza makers have seen how the tomatoes move from the field to the can just in a few hours, so to lose nothing of their fragrance and flavor.

«Walking among the tins that were being filled with peeled tomatoes – concludes Davide Civitiello – has been a bit like going back to my grandmother’s time, when the summer had the scent of the earth and of the boiled tomatoes!»

The memory that Simone Fortunato has taken home is instead that of basil’s aroma, perhaps because it is linked to a great adventure that he is about to begin. On September 22, Sorrento will be the cradle of a new chain of pizzerias: Basilico Italia, who will see him as the pizza maker executive manager, in collaboration with Maurizio Mastellone’s organizational experience.

Sorrento Peninsula will be the first step, but the goal is to bring the excellence of the great products from the Campania region to all of Italy.

What does that have to do with Ciao? We will tell you very soon!

Simone Fortunato lo sprint della pizza napoletana
The secrets of the fastest pizza maker of the world for a sprint pizza for the summer! 845 445 Alessandra

The secrets of the fastest pizza maker of the world for a sprint pizza for the summer!

Speed is ​​important for a pizza maker? We asked this question to Simone Fortunato of Pizzeria Diaz – 3 times world champion for the fast pizza category of the Caputo Trophy – and he told us his secrets for a sprint pizza for the summer, or, as we say, for a pizza sciué sciué (in Neapolitan dialect, sciué sciué means “hurry, hurry”, relating to something done on the run, quick, but of good quality).

Knead and working in just a few seconds on multiple symmetrical pasta disks is really not for everyone, but that is what is required for one of the most fast-paced contest of the Caputo Trophy – the fast pizza category.

During the 2017 World Pizza Maker Championship which has just ended, Simone Fortunato needed only 39.16 seconds to make it, winning for the 3rd time the title of fastest pizza maker in the world.

Here are some secrets that came out from the chat with our multiple award-winning champion.

What does it mean for a pizza maker to be the fastest in the world?

Speed is a value in our job because it trains you directly on the field, working day by day in pizzeria and answering to customers’ requests. That’s why the Fast Pizza Trophy is an award that is slowly gaining more and more interest from the industry, and not just among the acrobatic pizza experts.

What is the difference between a fast pizza contest and the everyday work in pizzeria?

You use the same dough, and there is no need to modify its elasticity like you do for the free style contest, because here you win by working just like you do in your pizzeria, with the same adrenaline and the same desire to do well. What changes is the use of the stopwatch, which remains a transparency indicator: it gives a fact, not an opinion, to testify which is the best. What changes is also, surely, how you define the work; to be a pizza maker requires not only knowing how to work the dough, but also know how to dress a pizza to make it a quality product!

As a speed expert, what do you suggest for a pizza “sciué sciué”, a fast pizza, suitable for summer?

For a quick and practical product, easy to eat even in the hot of the summer, I suggest to use a few simple ingredients, better if seasonal as arugula, “straccetti di bufala” cheese and, of course, the tomato: a valuable ally, especially when chosen aiming to quality!

Pizzeria Pummarò
Ciao and the specialties of Pummarò at Napoli Pizza Village 2017 845 445 Alessandra

Ciao and the specialties of Pummarò at Napoli Pizza Village 2017

Attilio Albachiara is a pizza enfant prodige, like so many young Neapolitans who are hungry for life and find alternating themselves between homework and dough lessons. Following the family tradition, Attilio started to work with his father in his pizzeria when he was only 12 years old.
His motto today is: “Quality is our strength; making pizzas is our vocation”, and with the same wisdom he tells us about the next Napoli Pizza Village.

– What specialties are you going to show on the Lungomare Caracciolo waterfront?
My special pizza is a red one and it is the ‘Parmigiana’, which is a Margherita pizza dressed with eggplant parmesan.
– Which tomato you will use for your pizza?
For the Parmigiana I use the tomato puree.

– Why did you choose this pizza to represent you at NPV?
The eggplants are one of the jewels of my menu. Pummarò’s customers go crazy for them in every possible way and they can eat up to 15-20 kg of eggplants per week.
– What do you expect from the Caputo Napoli Pizza Village 2017?
This is the third time that I take part to the event and I hope that the friends who come to visit us will notice the quality and passion of our workmanship, because there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing the satisfaction of those sitting at my table.

Pizzeria Da Gennaro
Ciao and the specialties of Pizzeria Da Gennaro at Napoli Pizza Village 2017. 845 445 Alessandra

Ciao and the specialties of Pizzeria Da Gennaro at Napoli Pizza Village 2017.

A grandfather who fried pizzas on the street and then decided to move to Bagnoli, already a tourist destination in the far 1956: This is how begins the story of Pizzeria Da Gennaro, a story about pizza since four generations.
For Fabio Cristiano – the founder’s grandson – pizza is home as it is the White Art village on the waterfront.
Here’s what he told us about his Napoli Pizza Village.

– What specialties are you going to show on the Lungomare Caracciolo waterfront?
For this edition of the Napoli Pizza Village, I chose to sum up the philosophy of Pizzeria da Gennaro with a specialty with pesto and cherry tomatoes. The matching with basil pesto exalts the whole summer flavor.

– Which tomato will you use for your pizza with pesto?
The cherry tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius.

– Why did you choose this pizza to represent Pizzeria Da Gennaro at NPV?
Basil and cherry tomatoes are two fresh and seasonal products suitable for these first hot days. The culinary philosophy of our pizzeria favors a great deal of attention to the ingredients – just consider that all the semifinished products used in our pizzeria is prepared in our kitchens: even our basil pesto!

– What do you expect from the Caputo Napoli Pizza Village 2017?
The Naples Pizza Village is above all a great party. I expect so much positive energy – an energy we all need, even our Naples!

Pizzeria 'O Sarracino
Ciao and the specialties of Pizzeria ‘O Saracino at Napoli Pizza Village 2017 845 445 Alessandra

Ciao and the specialties of Pizzeria ‘O Saracino at Napoli Pizza Village 2017

Maybe not everyone knows that just over 10 years ago the Neapolitan pizza tradition was almost unknown in the Agro Nocerino Sarnese area, in the Province of Salerno. The only news that you could heard about came directly from Naples. This situation ended with the birth of Pizzeria ‘O Sarracino, which brought to Nocera Inferiore the first example of pizza patterned after the lessons of the Neapolitan school. The credit of “spreading the good word” goes all to the Tramontano brothers, owners of the pizzeria, and that will be at the Napoli Pizza Village 2017.

Pizzeria ‘O Sarracino is very young, but encompasses centuries of tradition. What is its secret?

‘O Sarracino was born in 2007, from an idea of ​​me, Angelo Tramontano, and of my brother Giuseppe. At that time, the true Neapolitan pizza was not known in the Agro Nocerino Sarnese area as it is today. ‘O Sarracino had the instinct of studying it and bringing it to Nocera, bearing in mind what I think is the perfect model, that of Michele ai Tribunali.

What parameters did you follow?

We specialized ourselves in the classic pizzas. Bearing in mind Michele’s model, we tried to reproduce the Magherita and the Marinara pizzas – the two great classics which are the pizzas par excellence – according to the rules prescribed by the TGS specifications. Until then, pizzas in Nocera were made with a long cooking – longer than a minute and a half – and had a diameter of 35 cm, while our Margherita and Marinara pizzas follow the lesson of the great masters, with a leavening of at least 8 hours, and a 60-second baking in oven. Following this method we brought the true Neapolitan pizza to our area.

You teach us that making pizzas is a pure science, but what is the secret to make this science an artwork? How will you dress your doughs?

You are absolutely right! The pizza maker can never let his guard down and must keep himself constantly up to date. For my pizzas I always choose a classic: the peeled tomatoes from Ciao Pomodori. For ten years I’ve been using this brand, a choice that I confirm for the Pizza Village, too.

And about the Pizza Village, what vibrations do you have for this edition?

This is the fifth time that I take part to the Pizza Village. I remember when we were only 20 pizzerias at the Mostra d’Oltremare exhibition center. Now this number has more than doubled and we are about 50, creating a rich contest that offers a great opportunity to compete. And numbers over the years are an indication of how these events have become of exponential importance. Each edition has been difficult for us, because we “foreigners” had to prove to be up to the level of the great Neapolitan masters. And each year, it has always been an unexpected success, and I really hope to succeed again this year, too.

Which great novelties ‘O Sarracino’ has set aside for NPV?

This year we propose a new pizza: we looked for to capture the summer flavor. I called it ‘Sorrento in your mouth’. Its characteristic is that it is seasoned with tomatoes of Sorrento that I personally make in pulp, to which we add buffalo ricotta and the very special mozzarella cheese ‘zizzona di Battipaglia’.

Michele Leo
The recipe for pizza from a World Champion by Michele Leo 845 445 Alessandra

The recipe for pizza from a World Champion by Michele Leo

The Caputo Trophy has a brand-new Pizza Champion: Michele Leo from Pizzeria Il Brigante in Venosa. 1st classified for the TSG pizza category – thanks also to Ciao’s tomatoes – he is the best pizza maker to which ask the secrets of a podium pizza.

52 years old, with an entire life spent for its trade, working his way up the ladder as a pizza maker after emigrating in Germany, and so much passion for pushing out ever further. This is Michele Leo. Pizza maker with 33 years of experience in searching for excellence. Attempt after attempt, his search has led him to the White Art’s highest peak.

But what are the tricks to make the best pizza in the world? Here’s Michele Leo’s recipe.

“The first ingredient to put into the dough is the heart, the passion that drives you to seek the utmost both from yourself and from the raw materials you choose” – we are told by the ‘Brigante’ (Brigand) of Venosa.

Leo knows that very well, as he has opened his pizzeria only 9 years ago, after going far and wide through Italy, hunting for work experiences to put himself to test.

“The second step in this ideal recipe is the search for quality, especially in the choice of ingredients, but also in the whole production process” – continues the new Caputo Trophy’s champion – “I always look for excellence products”.

Besides, our Michele is a practical man, of the old school, who demanded from his son, Rocco, to learn the pizza maker’s trade, but at the same time to continue also to study, so to evolve personally and find his way.

“The third and final step is commitment. No award has to be enough to extinguish the urge to push beyond the achieved results.”

As a proof of his stubbornness, to those who asks him how his life will no change, Michele Leo only answers with a laconic: “We will see”.