Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in Naples

By Yasmine El Tabib

Neapolitan Pizza - Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in Naples

I bet you are aware that Germany’s beer has standards regulated by the law. Did you know that the Neapolitan pizza does also? In 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture defined the ingredients and production of the “Pizza Napoletana STG.” It must include wheat flour type “00” with the addition of flour type “0” yeast, natural mineral water, peeled tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes, marine salt, and extra virgin olive oil. All these regulations are in place in order to protect the integrity of this Italian tradition.

Italian Ingredients - Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in NaplesIn Naples, locals are proud of all their acclaimed dishes (not unlike other regions of Italy), from simple to rich. The magic of Neapolitan cuisine is that many of the dishes are not so bourgeoisie. They don’t require expensive, or numerous ingredients. Some of the most iconic dishes of Naples use ingredients like pasta, beans, eggplant, pepperoncini (spicy peppers), tomatoes, and basil. None are too fussy, they don’t require extraordinary cooking spells, and they are all extremely flavorful. The French and Spanish rule may have caused stratification of the social classes, which is still in place today, but no matter the social class, “si mangia bene” (one eats well).

Even from the most commercialized dishes, such as the pizza or spaghetti with red sauce, Neapolitans will argue that none tastes quite like the dishes made at home, with ingredients from their garden and their sea. TLC can go a long way. They will even go so far as to say that their very own mamma or nonna (that continue to cook decades-old recipes), do it better than even their own neighbors.

Spaghetti alle vongole - Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in Naples

I dare you to try and compare the parmigiana melanzane (eggplant parmesan) you know vs. one made in a home in Naples. I bet the eggplant, tomato, garlic, basil and onion probably weren’t grown in your garden, or close to you. Chances are, even if you opted for the more expensive, imported parmesan, you didn’t get it from the family that owns the neighborhood cheese shop. However, it’s these distinctions that make all the difference. It is these distinctions that have people raving about the food they ate in Italy, even if they know about every Italian restaurant in town.

Sfogliatelle - Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in Naples

Not to say that all dishes are simply made. Many of them, especially the sweets, require some skill in the kitchen. Sfogliatelle and torta ricotta e pera are specialties with layers of preparation. The clam-shaped sfogliatelle’s light, flaky outside is tough to master with the weightiness of the ricotta stuffed inside. Torta ricotta e pera requires many layers-the outer biscotti, the ricotta cream, and the poached pears must come together seamlessly.

So, if you’re thinking you can imitate the regional specialties of Naples, think again. The dishes are homegrown and will forever stay that way. When you visit Naples and see for yourself, remember that you are participating in traditions that have lasted for centuries. Don’t be scarce with your compliments, like “squisito,” “straordinario,” or “ottimo”; you might get to taste some of the homemade limoncello or wine that’s reserved for special friends. It will really warm you up to the vibrant people, and potential friends that you will encounter along the way.

View of Naples, Italy - Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in NaplesPlanning a trip to Italy and ready to really taste Neapolitan food and experience Italy like the locals do? Check out these Featured Trips, full of eateries and sites recommended by our local experts

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2 thoughts on “Authentic Neapolitan Food Only Exists in Naples

  1. Lovely blog post! The pictures are amazing. Reminds me of an awesome food tour I took in Naples. It was with this company: They were so friendly and took us around to all the authentic food spots. Divine!

    • That’s awesome Kara! And thanks for the recommendation of the food tour. We will definitely check them out. We hope you get to visit Naples again soon. Safe and happy travels!

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