Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Neapolitan Pizza- Enzo Coccia's New Adventure

Pizza Maestro Enzo Coccia
A few months back, I received news that pizza maestro Enzo Coccia was about to present his new book.  A book which would explain the production process of Neapolitan pizza - step by step - scientifically- like it had never been presented before.  This book took two years to complete alongside with Paolo Masi and Annalisa Romano of the University of Naples Federico II. When I contacted Coccia about where I could pick up the book, he suggested I wait a bit.  The Coccia team was working on an English translation.  Ok.  This made sense to me since Coccia's Pizza Consulting firm, which has been training pizza makers  and opening pizzerias worldwide for about 15 years.
I waited, and one day in late September I received a phone call.  A phone call from Coccia letting me know that the book was ready and he had plans to present it to an international audience during Expo 2015 in Milan.  Why don't you come along? he asked.
He didn't need to ask twice.  On a cool and rainy October evening, I sat alongside with Coccia at the Slow Food Theater to share his experience with a packed house of pizza lovers, enthusiasts, and curious bystanders.

Coccia began to speak about his book.  A brief description of its contents.  How its mission, so to speak, was to map out the artisanal process.  The importance of the basic ingredients; water, yeast, salt, and of course, time.  The importance of quality products and how the need to protect them.  Products such as San Marzano tomatoes, which although a DOP product, has unfortunately been marketed around the world with tomatoes produced from places as far as China and being sold in the United States.

Products such as fior di latte, a cheese that is also permitted on Neapolitan pizza, but unfortunately, unlike mozzarella di bufalo PDO (protected designation of origin) , has not received any type of classification to protect the cheese of its geographically origins or the consumer of the guarantee of where the product comes from.

Coccia felt out the crowd and realized that many were unfamiliar with the specifics of Neapolitan pizza.  So he involved the crowd in his discussion on leavening and cooking times.
I even had a chance to give my impressions on the book, focusing on the trouble shooting guide which comes complete with photos, possible reasons why a particular defect may occur, and changes to consider during the production process.
An exciting question/answer period included several people who desired that Coccia open up a pizzeria near them.
Coccia smiled.
So did I. Somehow Coccia turned that cool wooden theater in Milan into a warm environment.  Similar to his Pizzaria La Notizia back home in Naples

The Neapolitan Pizza  by Doppiavoce Edizione is available online.

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