AVPN Pizza School in Naples: The Best in Italy?

If you’re wondering which is the best pizza school in Italy, then you can’t go far wrong if you head to AVPN in Napoli. Granted, this is the only pizza school I’ve visited in Naples (hence the question mark in the title), so I can’t say for sure, but AVPN just has to be among the best.

Even if you don’t have a clue whether it’s just ‘AVPN’ or ‘the AVPN’, or whether it’s Napoli or Naples, if you’re looking to learn how to make proper traditional, authentic Neapolitan pizza from an actual Neapolitan, the AVPN school in Napoli is the place to go.

Nothing to do with the world of internet security, but instead being right at the centre of the world of pizza, AVPN stands for Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (or the Association of True Neapolitan Pizza, if you’re not lucky enough to be Italian).

Once you get over the excitement of there being an actual association for pizza, you soon learn that the AVPN was established in 1984 as a not-for-profit organisation, to simply uphold the traditional practices of pizza making from Naples, a.k.a the home of pizza.

So it obviously makes sense that a pizza-making lesson at AVPN is pretty damn groovy, even if it did chuck it down with rain right at the end of a 40-minute uphill walk from Naples city centre to get there (this just meant the 4 hour class started with the giant pizza oven being used as a radiator).

Aside from it being the official governing body of pizza, one of the main reasons AVPN has to be among the best pizza schools in Italy, is simply because the pizza made in class was waaaaaaay better than the pizzas eaten the night before and the day after, from two of the so-called best pizzerias in Naples.

Without giving all of the AVPN’s pizza secrets away, this particular class was taken by Peter Surace, who was obviously a very experienced pizzaiolo, and he shared a load of top pizza tips while guiding the group through the stages of the following recipe: 900g flour, 500ml water, 25g salt, 1g fresh yeast.

The classic Margherita & Marinara were made, as shown below:

Some notes taken during the class were as follows:

⁃ Bulk-rest dough for 30mins after kneading, then fold and bulk-rest again for another 30mins

⁃ Proof for 8-24hrs

⁃ Use 1% salt per 100g of canned tomatoes

⁃ Oven was at around 400C, although gauge not always accurate (learn to use your intuition)

⁃ If you underproof your dough, your pizza crust will turn out like this:

Summary

There’s obviously other pizza schools in Naples and right across Italy, but if you’re looking for a beginner’s class or even an advanced course to become a professional pizzaiolo, where you’re taught by the official association of the most traditional style of pizza there is, then AVPN in Napoli is a great place to start.