Pizza Today - December 2016 - 36

I

taly and the United States really aren't that different. Citizens of both love to bicker about whose
city has the best pizza. In the U.S., it's New York,
which has had a continuous pizza style since the
early 1900s, and Chicago, with a version that came
about midway through the century. We see almost
the same exact pattern in Italy with Naples and

Rome.
According to early 20th century Neapolitan journalist
Matilde Serao, the first Roman pizzeria closed shortly after it
opened in 1905. Apparently pizza was so fundamentally tied
to Naples, just 140 miles to the southeast, that it was unable
to survive beyond its natural habitat. It wasn't until after the
Second World War that Rome developed an affinity for the
dish, albeit in a completely different format than its Neapolitan precursor.
Kenny Dunn, of Eating Italy Food Tours, says the spark
happened when Italy began importing high protein flour from
the U.S. in the late 1940s. "Flour was expensive, so the pizza
makers developed a style that required less," says Dunn. Here
Dunn is referring to pizza tonda, one of the two dominant
styles found in Rome. Pizza tonda, literally "round pizza," is
usually eaten for dinner. The dough is opened by hand and
finished with a rolling pin. Unlike its Neapolitan cousin, pizza
tonda is baked in moderately heated (around 700 F) woodfired oven and emerges with a thin, crispy crust. The diner
either eats with a fork and knife or cuts the pizza into slices to
be eaten with the hands. Unlike Neapolitan, the thin, snappy
crust, called scrocchiarella, doesn't sag when held with the hand.
The other style found in Rome is called pizza al taglio
(literally "cut pizza"). This is a thick, rectangular pizza that's
commonly served for lunch. As the name implies, this style
is served by the slice. Pizzas are often baked in electric ovens,
producing a crust that is light and airy on top while crunchy
on the bottom. Customers choose from a display of pre-baked
options, each of which is dressed with elegant topping combinations. Price is often determined by weight in Italian pizzerias,
but clocks in at around $4.50 per slice in American shops.

Although pizza tonda is what most Romans picture
when they think of pizza, the al taglio variety has gained

more ground in America. Megamarkets like Eataly, Whole
Foods, and even New York's Grand Central Terminal recognize
the format's advantages as a high-end slice alternative. Of the
newly-opened location in Downtown Manhattan, Eataly partner Alex Saper says "[Roman pizza] is one of our most popular
items." It's the perfect snack or light meal for people who want
a quick lunch on the go. He credits pizza al taglio's popularity
to the format's ability to support a variety of fresh ingredients.
Master baker Peter Reinhart agrees, pointing out that more
weighty toppings are possible because of the sturdiness and stability of the base. "It's all about the crust," says Reinhart, author
of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Slice.
3 6 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

But there's a split vote among Roman bakeries regarding
thickness of the base. Most older shops make a thin pizza al taglio while the new wave, which began in the 1990s with breadfocused pioneers like Angelo Lezzi and Marco De Marco,
have pushed the pizza's crust to prominence. Rome-based food
critic and blogger Luciana Squadrilli says, "Pizza al taglio has
changed mostly after Gabriele Bonci, with a higher attention
to dough and toppings." Shortly after he opened his tiny slice
shop near the Vatican in 2003, Bonci gained renown because of
his focus on high hydration and long fermentation.
Maggie Granato and her family initially offered typical
New York-style pizza when they opened their Hell's Kitchen
pizzeria in 2010 - but they switched to a thin al taglio style
within weeks to differentiate themselves from the droves of
identical pizzerias in the area. Without making any changes
to the dough formula, Merilu Pizza al Metro simply modified
its stretching technique to achieve a thin, dense base. Granato
finds the style liberating because there's more flexibility when
the customer doesn't have strict expectations like they do with
New York style. "They're more open to experimentation," she
says.
However delicious Roman pizza may be, there's still
a question as to whether or not the American market
is ready for it. Award-winning pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani fears

that Roman pizza may be too confusing for some diners. He
thinks Bonci's style "could be confused with Sicilian pizza,"
he suggests, referencing the similar slice shape. There's also a


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Pizza Today - December 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - December 2016

Pizza Today - December 2016
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Dough Doctor
Custom Boxes
When in Rome...
Performance Metrics
Road to Expo
2017 Menu Guide
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - December 2016 - CT1
Pizza Today - December 2016 - CT2
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Pizza Today - December 2016
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Cover2
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Commentary
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 4
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 5
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Contents
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 7
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 8
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 9
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Contributors
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 11
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 13
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Interact
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 15
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Conversation
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 17
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 19
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 21
Pizza Today - December 2016 - On Tap
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 23
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Destinations
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 25
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Dough Doctor
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 27
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 28
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 29
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Custom Boxes
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 31
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 32
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 33
Pizza Today - December 2016 - When in Rome...
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 35
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 36
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 37
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Performance Metrics
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 39
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 40
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 41
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Road to Expo
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 43
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 2017 Menu Guide
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 45
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 46
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 47
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 48
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 49
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 50
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 51
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Pizza Today - December 2016 - 68
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 70
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 71
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 73
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 74
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 75
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 76
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 77
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 78
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 79
Pizza Today - December 2016 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 81
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 82
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 83
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 84
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 85
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 86
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 87
Pizza Today - December 2016 - 88
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Cover3
Pizza Today - December 2016 - Cover4
Pizza Today - December 2016 - PE1
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