Are you a man who likes a Margherita? That’s strictly mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and extra-virgin olive oil by the way (complaints to so-called ‘Italian’ takeaways expected). Or are you more of a four-cheese kind of girl (because there’s no such thing too much cheese, whatever your husband tells you). As for me, I’m all about slices of prosciutto and scatterings of parmesan, perhaps with a bit of rocket thrown in for good measure. However you like to top off your thin-and-crispy, if you’re a fan of pizza, you’re in for a treat at Pizzafest.
Pizzafest: everything you need to knowMouth watering? Keep reading for my definitive guide to Pizzafest, one of the world’s best foody festivals.
Held in Naples – original home of this delectable dish – Pizzafest is the world’s largest event dedicated entirely to the eating of pizza. First organised in 1995, it’s now a firm favourite with gourmets around the world – and little wonder: for two weeks in September, the town’s air is saturated with the scent of freshly baked dough, stewing tomatoes and melted cheese. From cafés to street stalls, it’s sold everywhere.
View villas in Naples
Pizzafest: competition Things kick off with the very best pizzaiuoli (pizza makers) competing for your favour in the Pizza Village (located along the picturesque Caracciolo Promenade). Competition becomes fierce as the cooks aim to bag the title of World Champion, and at the end of the week, they are judged by you – the great public – alongside a very picky, pizza-loving jury. What’s not to love? Sit back in one of 4,000 seats, and dig in!
Pizzafest: the Neapolitan
n Pizza itself is an old chap, having originated as we know it some 300 years ago – but it wasn’t until 2004 that the Neapolitans realised they had to stop the likes of us Brits debasing this dish. And so, a set of rules were drawn up about how Neapolitan pizzas must be made: firstly, the dough must be made and thrown by hand, and take no less than six hours to rise; secondly, it cannot exceed 13.7 inches in diameter, and must be round; lastly, it should be wood-fired. Today, only three ‘real’ versions exist: the Margherita described above, the Marinara (garlic and oregano) and Extra Margherita (with Campanian buffalo mozzarella).
Pizzafest: events and eateries
From watching dough-throwing experts to concerts, cabaret, music and dance, there’s lots more to Pizzafest than simply gorging yourself on pizza (though that’s the point, admittedly). Take a master class on how to make the perfect pizza, or simply stuff yourself full with other people’s triumphs! One of the best places to go is Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba (you’ll find it at Via Port’Alba, 18) who claim to be the world’s oldest pizzeria; first set up in 1738, they still use lava rocks from Mount Vesuvius to line their ovens (now that’s authentic...).
Founded way back in the 8th century BC when we just on the verge of the Iron Age, Naples was originally a Greek colony, and soon became a major centre for the Roman Empire. Italy’s most densely populated city today, it is home to one of the country’s largest opera houses, the Teatro San Carlo, many important museums (make sure to see the frescoes of the Museo Archaeological Nazionale), and is situated – of course – just a 30-minute drive from Pompeii. When not filling up on pizza, there’ll be plenty to see and do! Simply check Napoli Pizza Village’s website for more updates on when and where this year’s event will take place.