Pizza Rules!!! (There’s Official Italian Regulations)

We all know that pizza rules. But you might not be aware that there’s actual regulations to follow if you want to make pizza the traditional way. Yep, believe it or not, there’s official rules when it comes to pizza (aside from pineapple being illegal).

From the proper traditional pizza practices in Italy, through to general guidelines for constructing the perfect pie, understanding the so-called rules of pizza not only allows us to savour the flavour and appreciate pizza’s origins, it also helps us to learn how to make truly groovy pizza.

So, in Italy there’s official pizza regulations (ok, guidelines); a set of ‘rules’ that govern pizza’s creation. These are the rules laid out by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), the organisation that was created to uphold quality standards when it comes to classic Neapolitan pizza.

Here we explore the AVPN rules that set the tone for traditional pizza-making, along with the general principles followed by pizza enthusiasts around the rest of the world.

Pizza Rules in Italy: AVPN Regulations

In Italy, the AVPN is an organisation dedicated to preserving the authenticity and quality of traditional Neapolitan pizza. To earn the prestigious Verace Pizza Napoletana designation, pizzerias must adhere to strict guidelines, including:

a. Dough: The dough must be made from specific ingredients, including 00 flour, water, sea salt, and yeast or natural starter. No additives or oils are allowed.

b. Hand-stretched: The dough must be shaped by hand, without the use of a rolling pin, to create a thin center and a puffy, slightly charred crust.

c. Tomato Sauce: The sauce must be made from San Marzano tomatoes or the variety known as Pomodoro di Napoli, with no additional ingredients other than salt.

d. Mozzarella: The use of authentic DOP mozzarella is required (best is fior di latte mozzarella), with its characteristic freshness and creamy texture.

e. Cooking: True Neapolitan pizza should be cooked in a wood-fired oven at extremely high temperatures, typically around 900°F (480°C), for no more than 90 seconds.

What are the General Rules When Making Pizza?

While the AVPN guidelines emphasise the traditional Neapolitan style, there’s also general rules that are typically followed by pizza lovers worldwide:

Quality Ingredients: The foundation of a truly groovy pizza lies in using high-quality ingredients. Opt for fresh produce, premium cheeses, and meats free from additives. Quality ingredients elevate the flavours and create a memorable dining experience.

Understanding the Ingredients: It might sound strange if you think pizza is just pizza, but as well as choosing quality ingredients, it’s important to understand how pizza’s ingredients work together to create the perfect slice. Especially when it comes to the dough, learning the science behind flour, water, salt and yeast is essential.

Balance and Proportion: The key to a well-constructed pizza is achieving balance and proportion. Distribute the sauce, cheese, and toppings evenly across the dough, ensuring each bite offers a harmonious blend of flavours.

Proper Baking: Achieving the perfect crust requires proper baking techniques and an understanding of time and temperature. Whether using a wood-fired oven, pizza stone, or even a cast-iron skillet, ensure that the oven or cooking surface is preheated adequately to promote even cooking and the type of crust you’re after.

Creativity within Bounds: While there’s room for creativity in pizza-making, it’s important to strike a balance between innovation and respecting the fundamentals of making pizza. Experiment with toppings, sauces, and cheeses while still paying homage to the heritage and essence of pizza.

Appreciation of Tradition: Pizza has a rich cultural heritage, and understanding and appreciating pizza’s tradition add to the enjoyment of the culinary delight that is pizza. Explore the diverse regional styles in Italy and learn from the techniques passed down through generations.

In Summary 

So pizza follows a certain set of rules that govern its creation and ensure its authenticity and quality are kept intact (in Italy at least). From the strict guidelines of the AVPN to the general principles observed by pizza enthusiasts worldwide, such rules help to preserve the original essence of the iconic dish.

By appreciating the traditions, using quality ingredients, achieving balance, and embracing creativity, top-notch pizzas can be created that honour the rules while bringing unique taste to the pizza party. Whether you enjoy a classic Neapolitan pizza or experimenting with your own modern creation, always remember, pizza rules.

Stay Groovy. Eat Pizza.