The margherita at L\’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele\’s combines all the true characteristics of the ideal pizza: a slightly singed crust which rises the width of a finger from the plate, good oil, sweet tomato and cow\’s milk mozzarella – not buffalo mozzarella, which contains too much milk and makes the pizza soggy.
The dough is also prepared more than six hours before the pizza is put in the wood-fired oven, which gives it its elastic softness. This restaurant, which has been run by the Condurro family since 1870, is down a side street, simple and small. There are no reservations, so you join the queue and sit where there is space, sharing the marble tables with other diners, who are a mixture of the working class and high brow.
There\’s no wine, just beer, which costs €1.50, while the pizza costs €4. People in Naples eat pizza fast, so the wait\’s never too long. You get margherita, which is the true pizza, or marinara (tomato, oregano and garlic). That\’s it, and that\’s all you need. If I see 30 different pizzas on a restaurant menu, I get up and leave.
On an entirely unrelated note sold a few extra articles recently so have the workers in finishing off the garden. This involves, amongst other things, the building of a BBQ and, alongside it, a proper wood fired pizza oven. Wood fired bread ovens are common here in Portugal but a pizza oven is slightly different. Instead of clearing out the embers and allowing the oven to cool to 600 oC, for pizza you need a slightly different design (looks like an igloo, with what would be the entrance tunnel being where you bank up the fire) which operates at 800 oC or so.
I\’ve not had a real proper pizza since the last time I was in Naples, 30 odd years ago….but I might be able to have some this summer. Hoorah!