Skip to main content

Rockridge Food Tour: A16, VPN Certified Member #484


First stop on our Rockridge Food TourA16. Named for Autostrada 16 - the motorway connecting Naples to Puglia through southern Campania - the chef explained that they had recently achieved VPN certification. Intrigued! I take pizza - real Italian pizza - very seriously. And, to be honest, there are very few pizzas in America that I think are worthwhile to eat.

VPN is the acronym for Verace Pizza Napoletana, meaning "true Neapolitan pizza."

What does the VPN certification mean?
There is actually a lengthy list of requirements that you can read at the VPN Americas website, but the highlights are...

Must use a wood burning oven. R used their infrared temperature gun to read the temperature of the oven which was about 700 degrees F. A16 uses almond wood. I asked.


Must use 'proper' ingredients. Here's where the specificity seems almost laughable - to me. I would prefer the requirement of fresh oregano than that it has to be Origanum vulgare, from the Labiatae family. But, proper ingredients are only fresh, all-natural, non-processed ingredients, including wheat, tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, basil, cheese, salt, and yeast.
  
Must use 'proper' technique. The dough must be hand-worked and hand-shaped only. And the dough must not be cooked for longer than 90 seconds.

And about the final product..."Pizza Napoletana must be not larger than 11 inches with a raised edge crust of about 1 inch and a thin center. The pizza should be soft and elastic, and easily foldable." Yep. See!


One thing that I have never heard of is cutting the pizza with scissors. The reasoning seemed sound - something about not tearing the air pockets in the dough. Okay. But I'll be honest: in the entire time I lived in Italy (well over a year), and when I've traveled back, I've never ever seen anyone cut pizza with scissors. And I've eaten a lot of pizza in a lot of different cities. But, maybe, I just never paid attention to it. The funny thing: I didn't notice A16 cutting the pizza with scissors either. Maybe they did. 


This was a great way to start the Rockridge Food Tour. I look forward to heading back there for a more leisurely meal.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an