the highlight of our time in naples was definitely our pizza-making class.
there’s nothing quite like learning from the best in the actual birthplace
of pizza itself. it is definitely a european bucket list item!
we booked with eat in italy food tours and couldn’t have loved the experience more.
we chose alessandro izzo’s pizza class at palazzo petrucci, and it included
a small food tour through the city before the pizza class so it was the best
combination for a taste (and learning experience) here in napoli!
we met in piazza dante and got to meet francesco, our tour guide.
he took us to see the coffee culture first, and even though we don’t
drink coffee it was so funny to watch the madness ensue as locals
stepped up to the counter, got their order in, and threw back the
tiny cup of rich espresso. it’s a major tradition here that is fun to see.
of course italians can’t have their coffee without a pastry to go with,
so next we headed straight to piazza san domenico maggiore and stepped
into the classic bakery scaturchio to try the two signature pastries of the region.
first, you have to try this layered sfogliatella – it’s not only beautiful, it’s delish!
the thin pastry is filled with ricotta cheese and has lemon + orange shavings
inside. i didn’t love the lemon flavor as much, but chase was a fan! i
loved the texture of them and they are definitely a must try.
the other classic pastry is the babà, this pastry with a longer base
that is soaked in cooking rum and has a thick brioche texture.
it’s also not something i’d order again, but when in naples!
it was great to try two traditional pastries at one of
the most ancient neapolitan pastry shops in the city.
after our brief walking tour and coffee/pastry stops, it was pizza class time!!
palazzo petrucci is one of the best modern restaurants and pizzerias in town,
and it’s located just across the street from the pastry shop..so we scooted right over.
one of the first essential steps to authentic neapolitan pizza is obviously the
ingredients: local caputo flour from naples, and the best tomatoes for the sauce.
one of my favorite parts was right at the start when we learned
about making the dough. it’s a simple yet delicate process
that the best pizza chefs have perfected. i liked seeing that
even one of the best chefs still measured out the ingredients
though … that’s what creates consistency! we helped him pour
the water, add in flour, then add salt (it is supposed to mix into
the dough, not dissolve into the water) and let it mix. it was so
perfect and turned so beautiful and creamy when it was finished.
i hand mixed my own dough, too! (i’m still getting the sticky dough off my hands :)
we got to learn from allessandro, one of the best up-and-coming pizza chefs in the world.
he grew up learning all the secrets from some of the masters and now he is the head
chef here after his mentor retired. he has a long, pizza-filled career ahead! he
explained the process of heating the oven to us, and since it wasn’t fully warm
to cook a pizza yet, we make some little pizza bites to begin with. ^^
(they were like the real version of pizza pockets and SO good)
allessandro said he can feel when the oven is at the right temperature just
from years of practice, but you can also tell by watching for when the dome
ceiling turns completely white. the black fades away when it’s hot enough!
we did a cheese tasting while the oven finished heating.
mozzarella di bufala is unique to the region – made just outside
of naples – and it’s said to be the most prized of all of the mozzarella
cheeses. it is thick, creamy, and so rich. once you’ve tried it fresh here
in this region of italy, it’s really tough to go back to regular mozzarella.
it is also one of the freshest cheeses, and needs to be consumed within a
day or two. there are still small traditional factories that are hundreds of
years old right outside of the city where you can go buy it a few hours after
the morning milking. it is kept in water and so creamy and amazing! there’s
also a smoked version (the darker one shown above) with a different, stronger
taste. we tasted all three basic pizza cheeses: buffalo mozzarella, fior di latte,
and provola affumicata kinds as we learned and planned for each of our pizzas.
okay i just wrote a full paragraph about cheese – you can see where my priorities lie :)
finally, it was pizza time! we went through all of the steps of pizza making… including:
- choosing the right ingredients to make the perfect pizza dough (for the professional wood oven and home ovens like our own!)
- making our own pizza dough by hand
- learning how the professional wood brick oven works
- helping the entire kitchen staff with all stages of the ingredient prep
- preparing angioletti appetizers
- choosing seasonings and toppings
- handling the pizza dough & forming it round (the hardest part for me!)
- assembling and cooking the pizza in the stone wood-burning oven, and…
- EATING our own pizza creations! (they tasted so much better knowing we had made them :)
the tour & lesson lasts only about three and a half hours, which was a great amount
of time. the best part is how it finishes with a pizza party featuring your own creations!
forming the dough was not quite as easy as allessandro made it look ^^
you can see how happy i was to be learning to make pizza in naples! ^^
you can also see how happy i was to be putting my pizza in the oven ^^
^^ chase’s creation: margherita with provola affumicata (smoked buffalo cheese).
i didn’t think he chose well until i tried it – the smoked flavor was an amazing addition.
^^ i had to document our masterpieces before we ate them.
mine, however, was prettier … don’t you think? :)
i chose fior di latte, fresh cherry tomatoes instead of tomato sauce,
and some basil garnish. it was also so delicious with the sweet tomatoes!
this was one of our favorite european experiences, and
this class is a must for food and pizza-lovers visiting naples.
now let’s hope i can re-create these skills at home!