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27 May 2004 13:44
In an attempt to save the true Neapolitan pizza from extinction, the Italian Parliament is to debate a bill that defines it for posterity. The proposed law, of eight clauses and six sub-clauses, was published in the official gazette on Tuesday.
It represents the first step towards including the Neapolitan pizza among products recognised by the European Union as guaranteed traditional specialities.
Pizzerias that kept within the guidelines laid down in the bill would be able to distinguish their products with the Italian initials STG on menus and in advertisements.
The draft law, drawn up by government officials with the help and backing of Neapolitan pizza makers, stipulates the types of flour, yeast, salt and tomatoes that must be used.
The cheese on the classic pizza margherita must be mozzarella “from the southern Apennines” and to qualify as a pizza margherita extra, the mozzarella needs to be made from buffalo milk.
This will yield an ironic response from mozzarella producers in the area round Naples, who are equally anxious to preserve the identity of their own product and have been insisting that anything not made from buffalo milk is not mozzarella anyhow.
The bill declares that the genuine Neapolitan pizza is round and no more than 35 centimetres across. The rim must not rise by more than two centimetres.
It was not immediately clear how the authorities intended to police these regulations.
However, the proposed law refers to “checks” on restaurants, suggesting pizza-lovers in Italy may in future need to wait for their food while government inspectors measure the depth of the crust.
The suggested regulations are part of a drive toward “copyrighting” Italian food. But the business daily Il Sole-24 Ore on Wednesday argued it was already too late for the pizza.
“This extraordinary speciality can today be found in Beijing and Sydney”, it said. “It belongs to humanity”. - Guardian Unlimited Â
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