Da Michele: The true Neapolitan pizza?

Da Michele Verace Pizza Napoletana

Naples is the birthplace of pizza. It is difficult not to find a good pie around here. The streets are filled with pizza shops, with display windows of the pizza makers, “pizzaiolos,”  hard at work kneading and forming the elastic balls of dough with care. EVERY pizza joint is equipped with a wood-fired oven, which is just a formality in the States. And don’t you dare ask for extra Parm, chili flakes, or any additional condiments. Here, pizzaiolos take their pizza very seriously and are proud of their product.

Da Michele Neopolitan Pizza

So much so, that the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN)  was started in 1984. It’s an association that is dedicated towards regulating the branding of the term “verace pizza Napoletana,” the true Neapolitan pizza. Similar to the guidelines behind the branding of the term, “champagne.” The AVPN is responsible for regulating the use of the brand “verace pizza Napoletana,” and works consistently to inspect the establishments that are under its license. In order to to be considered a legitimate pizza maker of Neopolitan pizza, one must follow the strict guidelines set forth by the association.

Da Michele wood fired oven

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The last lambic brewery

Glass of Cantillon Gueuze

Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium, is one of the last breweries in the world that still produce lambics, the traditional way. It takes about 3 years to make a batch of lambic and production can only occur during the cold months of the year. This family-run brewery has been in operation since 1900, and they still use the same, original equipment from back then. Walking through the brewery, with its large copper lined vats, and ancient oak barrels stacked from floor to ceiling, it seemed like nothing had changed.

Cantillon copper vat Cantillon lambic cellar Cantillon lambic wine barrels

On my recent visit to this brewery, I learned so much about the craft of brewing. For starters, a true lambic can only be produced through spontaneous fermentation. What this means is that instead of using yeasts or sugars, the fermentation process depends solely on the presence of bacteria floating in the air. It is the air where the brewery is located that and the unique species of bacteria it contains, that gives their premier beer, the Gueuze, it’s unique flavor. Continue reading