Food Times Blog

Italian Pizza Vs McJunk

Italian Pizza Vs McJunk

American fast food giant McDonald’s released a 20-second advertisement a few days ago in which a waiter asks a small boy in a smart restaurant what he would like to order, to which he replies: “A Happy Meal”.

The video, uploaded onto YouTube, then shows him and his parents sitting down to eat in a McDonald’s restaurant.

Italian Pizza makers outraged by the inference that Italian children prefer burgers and French fries to pizza.

They have now produced a video of their own, in which a father takes his little boy into a fast food restaurant.

Asked what he wants to order, the boy wrinkles his nose and says, in thick Neapolitan dialect: “But Daddy, what is this disgusting stuff? I want a pizza.”

He and other children are then shown tucking into slices of pizza in a street in Naples.




Praise of Italian pizza, nominated for intangible heritage of humanity




Despite changes in meaning (direction changes, polysemy), the etymology of the word “pizza” is controversial, believed by most scholars to belong to the south-central area of Italy, and found in medieval Latin (Gaeta, 997, Codex Cajetanus), and then in Sulmona: pizzas de pane (1201); piza panis in Pesaro (1531). Perhaps from the Latin “placenta” (Cato, Horace, Petronio) that originally stood for the focaccia (a flat oven-baked Italian bread). Some people refer to the offa (cited in Pliny and Cicero) but that actually stands for the meatball or bite. Among other synonyms there is the same focaccia, and, at a regional level, the schiacciata (flat bread) , the spianata (rolled dough), the stiacciata (Florentine flat bread). Pizza – in a culinary sense – is the word best known abroad, even before, mentioned in order, cappuccino, spaghetti, espresso. 61df6b01-e899-4a20-b116-113e026f79e8


The Pizza Margherita

Year 1889. The pizza maker Raffaele Esposito prepared for Queen Margherita, who wanted a pizza inspired by the colors of the flag: green (basil), white (mozzarella) and red (tomato). On a side note, the buffalo mozzarella was introduced in Italy by the Lombards and it became a well established typical product in Lazio and Campania. As for the tomatoes, imported from America to Spain, they came to Italy thanks to Christopher Columbus. The export to Naples from Spain is dated 1596. At first the tomato was used as an ornamental plant, then it became an integral and essential TSG pizza ingredient more or less around 1720.



In the absence of a legal framework, the pizza can be done as anyone pleases: therefore it can be defined and evaluated only according to the ingredients that are used. With large approximation we can define a pizza as a prepared food made of flour, oil, salt, yeast, tomato, mozzarella and also with the addition of oregano, basil, mushrooms, ham, salami and so forth.



For instance, a three hectograms (10.5 ounces) Neapolitan pizza (with tomato and mozzarella), contains approximately 18 grams of protein, 28 of fat and 94 of carbon hydrates, equivalent to 717 calories.



More than pizza in the singular, it would more accurate to talk about it in the plural. Just think of the range of adjectives that from time to time are used to describe it, often to the exclusion of each other. For the texture: crunchy, sweet, instant, rustic, salty, soft, genuine, and so on. For the look: high, low. But above all this shows the extreme heterogeneity of the materials (ingredients) of which the dough is made. That being the case let’s here just consider the Neapolitan pizza recognized at a EU level as TSG, traditional specialty guaranteed. A normative premise: in Regulation (EC) n.509 / 2006 (in force since April of the same year) for traditional specialties guaranteed, TSG means an agricultural or food product, whose specificity is recognized by the EU by the constantly updated recording of traditional specialties.

To qualify as a TSG, the product must be in accordance with clear specifications, standards, and a product and manufacturing method description, clear elements which define the specialty of the product and prove its traditional nature, as well as the checking procedures. After that the (EU) Regulation No. 97/2010 of the Commission the name of the “Pizza Napoletana” was registered in the TSG register. The pizza is presented as a roundish bakery product with variable diameters up to 35 centimeters, with a raised edge of one to two centimeters (the so-called ledge) and with the central part of 0,4 cm and covered with toppings. The red of the tomatoes stands out at the center, perfectly mixed with oil and, depending on the ingredients used, the green of the oregano and basil, white garlic and mozzarella (of the DOP – Protected Denomination of Origin – or the TSG buffalo mozzarella from Campania) positioned in more or less close patches, The consistency of the pizza shall be soft, doughy and easily foldable. The basic ingredients are: type 00 wheat flour, with the possible addition of type 0 flour, brewer’s yeast, drinkable natural water, peeled tomatoes and / or fresh tomatoes, sea salt or table salt, extra virgin olive oil. Other ingredients used: garlic and oregano, mozzarella, fresh basil.



What are the differences between the Marinara and Margherita?


The Marinara (the name probably is due to the fact that the ingredients, easily storable, could be brought by the sailors during their long wanderings at sea) is topped with peeled tomatoes and / or fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt, oregano and garlic. The Margherita with peeled tomatoes and / or fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt, or PDO buffalo mozzarella or TSG Mozzarella and basil. The method of production of the product is fully described in the specification section 3.6 – which cannot be sold frozen, or vacuum – sealed – relating to six specific moments, to be carried out in a continuous cycle at the same moment of production: 1) kneading, 2) rising , 3) modeling, 4) topping, 5) cooking and 6) preserving. 1. Kneading. Mix the flour, water, salt and yeast. In a kneader, preferably forked, pour a liter of water, melt 50-55 grams of salt, add flour, 10 percent of the total amount; right after start the mixer and gradually add 1,800 grams of flour until reaching the needed consistency, defined as point of pasta. The operation lasts ten minutes. The dough must be worked for twenty minutes until obtaining a compact paste, which to the touch should not be sticky but soft, doughy and it should present specific characteristics as far as fermentation temperature, final PH, total titratable acidity, and density go. 2. Rising. There are two distinct phases. In the first the dough is placed on a work table, where it sits for two hours, covered with a damp cloth. After two hours the dough is shaped in a ball, by hand. A piece of dough is then cut and shaped into a small ball of 180-250 grams. Once the dough balls have been formed (shaped) there shall be another leavening (second phase) inside food containers for four to six hours. The mixture, kept at room temperature, is then ready to be used in the next six hours. 3. Modeling (forming). The dough balls, molded by hand rest for about 30 minutes. 4. Topping. For the two types the above mentioned toppings make the two kinds of TSG Neapolitan pizzas different. 5. Cooking. It must take place exclusively in wood-fired ovens at temperatures which can go up to 485 degrees. 6. Conservation. The Neapolitan pizza should preferably be eaten immediately, as soon as it comes out of the oven, in the same places of production. If not eaten at the place of production, the pizza cannot be frozen or deep frozen or vacuum sealed for later sale.


The frozen pizza

The first frozen pizza goes back to 1945, packaged for an air shipping. With the exception of isolated productions of excellence, for which the quality of raw materials and the 36 hour sourdough offer a tasty and highly digestible pizza, the procedure used is standard. We shall briefly describe a standard procedure. It takes several machines. For the base a mixer mixes the ingredients for four minutes: water, yeast, salt, flour, oil, sugar, for flavoring purposes, corn flour. The dough is put to rise for about thirty minutes. Other machines divide the whole dough into smaller parts. The portions obtained are flattened with special rollers with a thickness of two and a half centimeters. Other rollers give the mixture a homogeneous consistency. Some spatulas smoothen the dough. Thus devices of stainless steel punch small holes of a depth of seven to ten millimeters to avoid the formation of air bubbles. After this, another plastic device cuts the dough to give it the classic round shape. The discs of dough, thus obtained, are finally put in the oven, where they bake for two minutes at a temperature of between 200 and 300 degrees. Then the tomato is spread, followed by that of the mozzarella, cut into small pieces. Another machine gradually tops it with different ingredients (such as peppers, salami and other meats). It then proceeds to the checks done on a sample bases. Close to the final stage a spiral freezer steps in for about twenty minutes at minus 31, 5 degrees. Finally the packing stage, during which an optical inspection system will discard defective products, finally reaching the very last phase: boxing it in cartons for the market distribution.