Neapolitan 'Pizza Twirling' Makes UNESCO List

Two million people signed a petition supporting the official recognition of 'pizzaiuolo' pizza twirling.

By Julie Al-Zoubi
Dec. 8, 2017 12:36 UTC

Pizza lovers in Naples enjoyed free pizza dished out by pizze­rias Thursday to cel­e­brate the inclu­sion of piz­za­iuolo, their tra­di­tional pizza mak­ing tech­nique onto the United Nation’s list of intan­gi­ble her­itage, grant­ing Neapolitan pizza world her­itage sta­tus.

The art of piz­za­iuolo rep­re­sents iden­tity of peo­ple, our tra­di­tion and ter­ri­tory.- Enzo Coccia

Two mil­lion peo­ple signed a peti­tion in sup­port of pizzaiuolo’s demand to be rec­og­nized. They argued that the prac­tice of twirling the dough before the pizza is baked in a wood-fired brick oven; along with the tra­di­tional songs, sto­ries and ges­tures that con­nect the pizza mak­ers and din­ers in Neapolitan neigh­bor­hoods was part of a unique cul­tural and gas­tro­nomic tra­di­tion.

Master pizza maker Enzo Coccia who runs a world-renowned pizza acad­emy as well as two pizza restau­rants in Naples told Olive Oil Times, It is an impor­tant thing, because the art of piz­za­iuolo rep­re­sents iden­tity of peo­ple, our tra­di­tion and ter­ri­tory. It’s a prize for all peo­ple that dur­ing these years have done some­thing for this job and for the world of Pizza Neapolitan.

I hope that this prize could be a way or a source to develop an impor­tant econ­omy not only for the pizze­rias, but for all peo­ple thanks to tourism, that pro­tects the envi­ron­ment. This prize is not only for the Neapolitan peo­ple, but it is for all pizza mak­ers all over the world that make Neapolitan Pizza.”

Maurizio Martina, Italy’s min­is­ter for agri­cul­ture food and forestry tweeted, Victory, another step towards the pro­tec­tion of Italy’s food and wine her­itage.”

In 2006 Elizabeth Gilbert devoured the Neapolitan del­i­cacy in her best­selling mem­oir, Eat, Pray, Love and declared, I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delir­ium that my pizza might actu­ally love me, in return. I am hav­ing a rela­tion­ship with this pizza, almost an affair.”

In the 2010 film ver­sion of Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts turned the Hollywood spot­light on the Naples pizza joint L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele” urg­ing, Please go to this pizze­ria. Order the margherita pizza with dou­ble moz­zarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me and tell me that you did.”

In 2010 that Neapolitan pizza was also granted EU Traditional Speciality Guaranteed” sta­tus.

There are just two clas­sic ver­sions of the tra­di­tional Neapolitan pizza; the Margherita which is topped with tomato, moz­zarella, oil and basil, and the Marinara, topped with tomato, gar­lic, oregano and olive oil.

Thirty-three other tra­di­tions also fought for a UNESCO list­ing at the twelfth ses­sion held on Jeju Island, South Korea in December. The intan­gi­ble her­itage list was set up in 2003 and includes over 350 tra­di­tions and food­stuffs. In 2013 the Mediterranean Diet was added to the UNESCO list which also includes Turkish olive oil wrestling.

The main aim of the UNESCO list is to raise aware­ness of tra­di­tions from around the world although in some cases finan­cial and other sup­port is pro­vided for endan­gered tra­di­tions.


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