Thursday, January 10, 2019

CycleItalia's Great Pizza Shootout Part 1

Who makes the world's best pizza?

We aim to find out during the next four months while Heather works on her Fulbright Scholarship projects here in Napoli.

First, let's get a few things understood: While there are some arguments, pizza is essentially an Italian invention and nobody will argue that the people in Napoli know best how to make and enjoy them.

So we're reviewing Neapolitan Pizza.

We've "Googled" the list as well as consulted with locals, but we'll try to visit all the top-rated places along with a few not so well-known.

Why not start with the best? Why indeed. We went off to Sorbillo, which just happens to be less than five minute's walk from our apartment to begin our project. We'd eaten at his place out on the seafront a few years ago and agreed it was the best we'd ever sampled, but why not start fresh with this longer-term project?

Our plan is to get a margherita and a marinara along with beer to keep things simple and consistent for our ratings. For now we're considering four basic qualities -  how it looks, the pasta part, the sauce and the topping. We may get into a numerical rating system as we proceed so stay tuned.

Sorbillo's a busy place as you might guess. It seemed plenty of Neapolitans were in there with Italian friends from other regions as we heard descriptions of these pizze compared with others. And of course there were plenty of tourists and foreigners as well. We got there fairly early in the midday so we waited barely 10 minutes for our name to be called.

This place is very informal with plastic cups for the beer and cheap plates with Sorbillo's logo on them under your pizza. But there's no pressure to order or eat quickly despite the crowd building outside. We saw a few boxed pizze going out for delivery as well.

We both thought the sauce on these was the best we've tasted. The outer part of the crust was exceptionally good with a smoky, woody flavor from the oven. Both of us were a bit let down by the soggy, soupy center of the pizza, though purists might insist this is the way it should be?

So for now Sorbillo's still the champ but we're not 100% certain he'll retain the crown as our project continues.

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