Prepare to say good-bye to your diet, Naples is filled with temptations…
Southern Italy is having a Renaissance moment. Before travel seekers headed for the sophistication of Northern Italy’s fashionable cities, and if they did head south it was no further than Rome. But suddenly the hominess and laid back feel of Italy’s South had grown appealing again and that is seen mostly in our taste for its food. Pizza has always been a favourite, but suddenly tomato based ragu, and canolli are all the rage in posh restaurants and for our taste palettes. We’d prefer a nice simple plate of pasta over a posh risotto. We’ve gone from after dinner grappa to a chilled limoncello. And the new culinary bespoke term right now is ‘Neapolitan cooking’ to satisfy our need for comfort food. Naples is crazy and exciting, is an overload for the senses, but most especially the taste sense. It is home to the pizza, the real pizza, and you will find no better than in this city. Neapolitan also love sweets and some luscious, diet killing temptations can be found throughout the city at caffes and pastry shops. Light and fluffy rum Babba is a Neapolitan specialty and along with a pizza should not be missed.
Pizza can be found all over Naples and has very specific rules as to what makes it vera, or authentically Neapolitan. From the type of flour and tomatoes used, to its size, and the thickness which must be no more than 3 millimeters. A traditional pizza is the Margherita which is just the simple cheese and tomato. Pure heaven. The best of the best can be found in Spaccanapoli.
Da Michele The granddaddy of pizza, the best of the best, everyone knows can be found here. Expect a queue to get in around main dining hours but is well worth the short wait. Inside is simple and the menu even simpler with only 2 flavours of pizza served here: Margherita and Marinara. You will need nothing more, except perhaps a beverage, so order it up with the house red. No fuss, all excellent ingredients and absolutely the best.
Di Matteo Home to the best deep fried pizza, light and fluffy, it is a good as it sounds, Matteo also offers world famous pizza as well. They offer a larger menu of selections, so if you like your pizza with pepperoni or anchovies, this is the place to come. Still traditional yet more topping selections on this menu.
The best thing to do is try both places and compare and contrast!
Pastry There has been some tasty traditional sweetness to come out of Napoli. Probably the most classic is Sfogliatelle, a light and crispy pastry ‘shell’ filled with a fluffy custard like filling. The next is the rum Babba while not from Naples originally, it has been perfected here and is now a local specialty. If can be found as a plain light and fluffy mushroom shape, or as a round Savarin, which is topped with whipped cream and a bit of fruit. Both are absolutely delicious and if you are like me, who didn’t think much of this pastry before I had it in Naples, be prepared to be converted! You will be craving this again and again, I promise you! Why stop there as there are so many more to tempt you like a Delizia al Limone, or a Torta Caprese… The list is extensive so of course do try them all!
Scaturchio is considered Napol’s oldest pastry shop. Right in the heart of Spaccanapoli, this is an excellent place to sample all the local sweets. A must stop on every foodie’s tour.
Gran Caffe Gambrinus What better place to enjoy a sfogliatelle than with a Neapolitan strong shot of espresso at the historic and classy Gambrinus. If you don’t fancy staying for the coffee they have a decadent pastry counter to get your pastries to take away with you.