Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Post: Pizza in Italy

Pizzeria Trianon da Ciro
Via Pietro Colletta, 44
I-80139 Napoli, Italy

I recently did a two week road-trip through southern Italy. Having previously spent time in the north, the focus of this trip was to explore the lesser known, less tourist-ridden corners of the magical land of Italia. The north and the south have so many differences you could almost take them for different countries. Sure the north has its highlights; the home of Ferrari, the fashion influence of Milan, classic Renaissance works of Florence, etc... I'm sure those things are all great but I was much more interested in the food.

With that, the decision was made to explore the south, where the exquisite dishes are a thing of legend. Among these dishes, and possibly the most significant, is pizza. And to truly experience pizza, as is true to experience a cheesesteak, you have to visit the birthplace. This meant a pilgrimage to Naples. One of the long standing creators of the original edible disc is Trianon da Ciro.

The first thing you notice when you walk in is the oven. This thing is the wood fire real deal. It's as old as time itself and probably belongs in a museum. The cooks are going nuts to keep up with the orders (I don't think there is ever a time they're not busy) and somehow among the chaos they continually turn out perfect orders. In all fairness Trianon has a much more elaborate menu than you would expect from a traditional pizzeria in Naples.

They do only serve pizza, though they are offered in a variety of combinations. A more traditional establishment may only offer marinara or margherita. We're not talking California Pizza Kitchen here though. You're not going to find bbq chicken or spicy chipotle. They keep it relatively simple, sticking to traditional Italian meats, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.

We ordered the Pizza 7 Formaggi and the Margherita con Salsiccia. First of all, I don't think I could identify what all 7 of the formaggis were but it was insanely good.

One thing that seemed to be a recurring theme among pizza in Italy was its incredible balance. What I mean is that no one single element of the pizza competes with another. The crust is as good as the cheese is as good as the toppings. I believe this is how good pizza is supposed to behave and ultimately why pizza where I live (The Pacific Northwest) is such a disaster.

As you can see in the photos, the wood-fire oven does an incredibly balanced job of browning the cheese and crust just right. The 7 cheese was pretty exceptional. The problem is that you just can't eat 7 cheese pizza every day. You will have a heart attack. I'm fairly sure one of the "cheeses" was actually just butter melted on top.

The real gem was the Margherita con Salsiccia (or margherita with sausage). I love sausage a great deal so this was an easy win for me. This pizza is simply magic. You literally can't believe you're eating something this good. I'm sincerely attempting to create an objective review here but I just can't. That pizza tops my "if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life" list hands down. A plate of the sausage alone would be enough to keep most people satisfied, but add in the fresh mozzarella di bufala, tomato sauce, and expertly crafted crust and you have a thing of legend.

I can accept that a pizza pilgrimage is likely not on most people's life list, but if you enjoy exceptionally crafted food and find yourself in Naples, do yourself a favor and visit Trianon da Ciro.

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