It has recently been 101 years since Mario in New York opened its doors, and it is one of the oldest Italian restaurants and pizzerias on American soil. The family-run restaurant on Arthur Street in the Bronx is one of a handful of American restaurants (Lombards, Totonos, Patties, Jones of Bleecker Street, Santarbius…) that boast a long tradition, mostly in New York City. The recipe for pizza was brought to the New World by immigrants from the Italian south in the late 19th century, and pizzerias began opening in the United States long before it spread to Europe. Thus, the second home of pizza is actually the United States.
The Italian dish, which after humble beginnings in the streets of Naples, where it was enjoyed by the poorest segments of the population, became a global phenomenon and the most famous culinary specialty of all, is considered the most famous Italian product. The art of pizza bakers in Naples is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Flat dough, similar to pizza, baked on hot stones and adding olive oil, salt, dates and herbs to taste, was widespread in antiquity, and was known to the Etruscans as well as the ancient Greeks and Romans. Prepare lipoma or placentathe Roman version of bread, which is probably closest to today’s Focaccia, has already been described VirgilThis dish is also mentioned in the Aeneid.
Pizza-like dough, baked on hot stones and adding olive oil, salt, dates and herbs to taste, was very popular in antiquity, and was known to both the Etruscans, the ancient Greeks and the Romans. Photo: Cerro de Luca/Reuters
In Naples, pizza was enjoyed on the street even before it found its way onto restaurant menus, and many foreign visitors to the city have written about the delicious dish. As mentioned by a French writer Alexandre Dumas In the book, Impressions from a Trip to the Kingdom of Naples Lou Coricolo (1843), that pizza is “a kind of flat pastry as prepared in Saint-Denis. It is round in shape and prepared with a mixture of bread. Its diameter determines the price. (…]At first glance, it is a very simple dish, but its preparation is not easy. Grease it with oil, lard, tomatoes or seafood.”
In the colors of the Italian flag
Pizza owes its timeless reputation to the pizza baker of Naples Raffaelego Espositowhich in 1889 in honor of the Italian queen Margaret of Savoy With the help of his wife, he prepared three pizzas: mastonicolo, marinara and a pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, inspired by the colors of the flag of the then young kingdom of Italy. The queen liked the latter the most, according to legend, it was named after her.
Until the second half of the twentieth century, pizzerias were almost exclusively Neapolitans (except for those in major American cities opened by Italian immigrants) and then elsewhere in Europe. The pizza baker has adapted the dish to different environments and tastes, and pizza has become a global phenomenon in a short time.
The Neapolitan Association grants authenticity only to pizzerias that adhere to the written rules for preparing a popular dish. Photo: Cerro de Luca/Reuters
The Original Neapolitan Pizza Association (AVPN), founded in 1984, today recognizes only Margherita and Marinaro as such, and has developed detailed rules for their preparation. Pizza should be baked in a baking oven at 485 ° C, baked for 60 to 90 seconds, the dough should be manually kneaded and left to rise for eight to 24 hours, the diameter of the pizza should not exceed 35 cm and in the center thicker than three millimeters. Even these rules aren’t enough for the fanatics and they only swear by San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.
Why is Italian pizza so popular all over the world today? Its path to stardom, according to culinary experts, is linked to another popular food known since prehistoric times, namely bread. Due to its high energy value and persistence, it has played a major role in the nutrition of mankind since the development of agriculture, which can also be seen in the religious rituals in which it is often used.
Round and fluffy bread spread all over the world, be it Indian naan, paratha, Alsatian flamemkuchen, Sardinian spanatta and karassu or Finnish risca. Pizza is made with simple ingredients and can be prepared relatively quickly, and its texture and blend of Mediterranean fare results in an explosion of taste in the mouth that few can resist.
Antica Pizzeria Port Alba
Lantica Pizzeria da Michele
Gino e tutu sorbillo
Pizzeria La Notizia
The author works in the workshop.