Pizza, the beloved Italian dish that has conquered the hearts and taste buds of people worldwide, is more than just dough, sauce, and cheese. It’s a culinary masterpiece that has evolved over centuries, with countless variations and styles to suit every palate.
While there are exceptional pizzerias across the globe, we embark on a journey to discover what could arguably be the best pizza place in the world. Prepare your taste buds and get ready for a savoury adventure!
The Origins Of Pizza
Before we delve into the search for the best pizza place, let’s take a moment to appreciate the origins of this delightful dish. Pizza’s roots can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The concept of using flatbreads as a base for various toppings has been found in Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures.
However, the modern pizza we know and love today hails from Naples, Italy. In the 18th century, Naples became a bustling and overcrowded city, and people sought inexpensive, portable meals. Thus, the classic Neapolitan pizza was born: a simple yet delicious combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil on a thin, crispy crust.
The World Of Pizza: A Diverse Landscape
Pizza has since travelled far beyond Naples, adapting to local tastes and ingredients as it spread across the world. Every country and region has put its unique twist on this Italian classic, resulting in an astonishing array of pizza styles and toppings.
- New York-Style Pizza: Known for its large, thin slices that are foldable, New York-style pizza is famous for its deliciously chewy crust, flavorful tomato sauce, and generous cheese toppings.
- Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza: This pizza takes the opposite approach with its thick, buttery crust that can hold a substantial amount of toppings, tomato sauce, and cheese. It’s almost like a pizza!
- Margherita Pizza: Staying true to its Neapolitan origins, the Margherita pizza features the classic trio of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. It’s simple yet utterly divine when made with high-quality ingredients.
- Hawaiian Pizza: A delightful sweet-and-savory combination featuring ham and pineapple. It’s a polarizing choice, with lovers and critics aplenty.
- Californian Pizza: California gets creative with pizza, often using non-traditional ingredients like avocado, goat cheese, and arugula to craft unique, fresh flavours.
- Sicilian Pizza: Known for its thick, square-shaped slices, Sicilian pizza boasts a crispy, olive oil-infused crust, topped with robust tomato sauce and cheese.
- Indian Pizza: India puts its spin on pizza by incorporating spices, tandoori chicken, and other traditional flavours, creating a fusion that’s both delicious and unique.
- Japanese Pizza: Okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake-like dish, is a Japanese interpretation of pizza, featuring ingredients like cabbage, seafood, and a special sauce.
- Turkish Pide: Turkey offers a take on pizza with its oval-shaped flatbreads, often filled with a variety of toppings such as minced meat, vegetables, and cheese.
- Mexican Pizza: Tlayudas, a type of Mexican pizza, utilizes a large, thin tortilla as the base and includes a variety of toppings like beans, cheese, avocado, and salsa.
This diversity in pizza styles and flavours reflects the adaptability and creativity of this iconic dish. But amidst this rich tapestry of pizza culture, there is one pizzeria that stands out, a place where pizza transcends mere food—it becomes an experience.
The Search For The Best Pizza Place In The World
Our quest for the best pizza place takes us to Naples, Italy, the very heart of pizza culture. Here, we find “L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele,” a revered establishment that has captured the imaginations of food enthusiasts worldwide.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Location: Via Cesare Sersale, 1, 80139 Napoli NA, Italy
Legend and Legacy: L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is not just a pizzeria; it’s a legend. Founded in 1870, this iconic eatery has played an integral role in the history of Neapolitan pizza. It’s not just a place to eat; it’s a pilgrimage for pizza lovers.
Atmosphere: The pizzeria exudes an old-world charm that transports you back in time. Its modest decor, with white-tiled walls adorned with black-and-white photos, adds to its authentic ambience. It’s a no-frills, unpretentious spot that lets the pizza speak for itself.
The Menu: At L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, you won’t find an extensive menu with dozens of pizza options. Instead, they keep it simple, offering just two types of pizza: the Margherita and the Marinara.
- Margherita: Made with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, salt, and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s a symphony of flavours that showcases the essence of Neapolitan pizza.
- Marinara: A minimalist delight featuring tomato, garlic, oregano, and extra-virgin olive oil. Despite its simplicity, it bursts with bold, savoury flavours.
The Dough: What sets L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele apart is its dough. They’ve perfected the art of creating a soft, airy, and slightly chewy crust that’s charred to perfection in a wood-fired oven. The dough, fermented for 24-36 hours, achieves a delightful balance between crispy and tender.
The Ingredients: The pizzeria’s unwavering commitment to quality is evident in its choice of ingredients. They use San Marzano tomatoes, a variety renowned for their rich, sweet flavour. The mozzarella cheese is as fresh as it gets, and the basil is handpicked for optimal freshness.
The Technique: L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele follows traditional Neapolitan techniques. Pizzaiolos (pizza makers) hand-stretch the dough and assemble the pizzas with precision. Each pizza spends a mere 60-90 seconds in the wood-fired oven, emerging with a blistered, slightly charred crust and perfectly melded flavours.
The Wait: Be prepared to wait in line at this popular pizzeria. It’s not uncommon to see a long queue of eager customers outside the door, patiently waiting for their turn to experience the magic of da Michele. But the wait is part of the experience, building anticipation for what lies ahead.
The Verdict: When you take that first bite of a Margherita or Marinara pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, you’re transported to Pizza Nirvana. It’s a taste that’s difficult to put into words—an explosion of flavours and textures that leaves an indelible mark on your culinary memory.
Beyond Italy: Other Pizza Paradises
While L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele undoubtedly holds a special place in the hearts of pizza aficionados, it’s important to recognize that great pizza can be found all over the world. Here are a few notable mentions from different corners of the globe:
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Established in 1925, Frank Pepe’s is an American institution, known for its coal-fired, thin-crust pizzas. The White Clam Pizza, adorned with clams, garlic, olive oil, and grated cheese, is a must-try.
Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo (Naples, Italy)
A fierce contender in the world of Neapolitan pizza, Gino Sorbillo is renowned for its exceptional crust and imaginative toppings. The “Margherita Starita,” with its perfectly charred crust and flavorful toppings, is a standout.
Pizzeria Mozza (Los Angeles, California, USA)
Founded by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joseph Bastianich, Pizzeria Mozza elevates pizza-making to an art form. The Butternut Squash Bacon pizza, featuring squash puree, bacon, and mozzarella, is a testament to their creative genius.
L’As du Fallafel (Paris, France)
While Paris may not be synonymous with pizza, L’As du Fallafel serves up some of the best in the city. Their falafel pizza, topped with creamy tahini sauce, pickled cabbage, and crispy falafel, is a delightful fusion of flavours.
Pequod’s Pizza (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
For those seeking the quintessential Chicago deep-dish experience, Pequod’s is the place to go. The caramelized crust, generous toppings, and gooey cheese make for an unforgettable indulgence.
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In the world of gastronomy, few dishes have achieved the universal adoration and versatility of pizza. From its humble beginnings on the streets of Naples to its global conquest, pizza has become a canvas for culinary creativity and a source of comfort for people of all backgrounds.
While L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele holds a special place in the hearts of many, countless other pizzerias around the world have mastered the art of pizza-making. Whether you prefer the classic simplicity of a Margherita or the bold creativity of a Californian-style pie, there’s a pizza out there for everyone.
So, the next time you savour a slice of pizza, take a moment to appreciate the centuries of tradition, innovation, and passion that have gone into creating this beloved dish. And who knows, you might just discover your own “best pizza place in the world” right in your neighbourhood.