It’s Italy’s own Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana—or VPN—who offers this esteemed certification, requiring that each Neapolitan pizza be made according to strict standards to maintain consistency and authenticity.
Among other things, the VPN’s requirements regulate the types and origins of the ingredients (see our other blogs), as well as how it’s prepared. Having the correct oven makes all the difference in this second category, so today we’re taking a quick look at what makes an authentic Neapolitan pizza oven.
Gas or Wood?
There’s no two ways about it; to prepare a true Neapolitan pizza, the VPN mandates that you must use a wood-fired oven. It’s a bit more difficult to maintain and keep at a consistent temperature, but it’s what we use at Vero Amore to create the true Neapolitan pizza taste.
However, the VPN realizes that some Neapolitan pizza enthusiasts simply can’t install or maintain a wood-fired oven. Space, practicality, or zoning restrictions can all be factors here, but fear not: the VPN is accomodating. They just require that when you apply for certification, you submit official documentation to explain why you can’t have a wood-fired oven.
What Happens Inside?
Assuming that you’ve found yourself a suitable wood-burning oven, there are a few other factors to consider. The VPN requires that your oven can consistently burn at about 900 degrees, the perfect temperature to make the pizza rise without burning it (at the recommended 45 to 60 second cook time, naturally).
There are a few ways to keep the oven’s temperature steady, with wood choice being the most important. Lighter wood like birch is more likely to produce open flame inside your oven, while heavier wood like oak will work better to heat the oven floor.
From there the VPN requires that your oven be the correct shape. Neapolitan pizza makers have known for centuries that the best heat distribution comes from a dome-shaped oven, which is what the VPN requires and what we use at Vero Amore.
But It Doesn’t Stop There
Ok, so you’ve got the right oven, in the right shape, holding steady at the right temperature. That’s it, right? Not quite. Once you think you’ve checked all the right boxes to become an authentic Neapolitan pizza, a delegate from the VPN flies to your restaurant to ensure that everything is up to snuff.
If the VPN approves, congratulations! You’re the purveyor of authentic Neapolitan pizzas and can expect yearly inspections from the VPN to renew your certification. If the VPN finds any shortcomings, don’t give up. Unless you’ve completely disregarded everything you’ve read here so far, the most likely scenario is that the VPN board of directors will make some recommendations and allow you to reapply for certification.
The correct oven is only one part of maintaining our Neapolitan Pizza certification, but it’s one that we feel is very important in bringing Tucson only the best Neapolitan pizzas every day. We believe in going the extra mile, which is why we custom-ordered our oven straight from Naples itself. It weighs in at over 5,000 lbs and is crafted with volcanic stone directly from Mount Vesuvius. Even our Wood-Fired truck, which delivers many of our popular menu items, adheres to each and every of the VPN’s criteria for Neapolitan pizza certification.
But don’t take our word for it—stop by and try one of our delicious, authentic Neapolitan Pizzas at our Dove Mountain or Swan Rd. locations today!