"Marina Del Rey--Here you will learn the art of making true Neopolitan Pizza"

by Joe Hilbers

Like pizza, right? Who doesn't? You an expert on pizza? Of course, everyone is. Know where pizza originated? Sure, Italy. But that is where the knowledge generally ends for most of us.

For this Writer a visit to Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana brought new knowledge and prospective on this culinary favorite. AVPN is headquartered where it was founded in Naples, Italy. But fortunately we only had to go to Marina Del Rey to visit Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas. It is located at 4040 Del Rey Avenue in Marina Del Rey and is official headquarters for VPN in the USA and Canada.

VPN was founded in Naples in 1984, by a group of 17 pizza makers, to preserve and promote true Neapolitan pizza and a brand name "Vera Pizza Neapolitan" is registered. The true VPN product can be found in 25 countries with 84 locations in the USA, 45 in Japan and seven in California. It is amazingly strong in the Far East.

Naples does have certain rights to pizza since it was first made there three hundred years ago. First it was sold on the street, then moved to indoor pizzerias in 1830. The first one in New York opened in 1905 and was called Pizzeria Lombard.

The official ingredients of Neapolitan Pizza are flour, tomato, olive oil and buffalo Mozzarella. The flour is type 00 with only yeast, sea salt and water added. The mixed flour is then allowed to rest for at least 12 hours before use.

The VPN Americas facility in Marina Del Rey is used as a class room for teaching the art of a true Neapolitan pizza. There are three courses offered. The Basic course is eight hours and designed for the home pizza lover and preparing a pizza either in a kitchen oven or outdoor baking oven.

Then there is the Regular course which last three days and besides preparing the pizza the use of the classic wood burning oven. Classic Neapolitan pizzas have names like Marinara and Margherita. The Margherita name dates back to the last half of the 18th century when the King and Queen of Italy visited Naples and a much enjoyed pizza was named for the Queen

If pizza looms in your professional future there is five day course where one learns to cook more than one pizza at a time and more kinds of Neapolitan pizzas like Pizza Fritta and its variations, Pizza Montanara and Calzone Fritto. Pass this course with its written exam and you can join VPN.

After our seminar the delight was in tasting the finished product. It was an eye watching approach to the preparation and we were surprised in how short a time the pizza was actually in the oven. Also the crust which was just about the best we have ever experienced..

VPN membership is steadily increasing in the U.S. year by year with about 100 new trainees scheduled for 2014.

We had the opportunity to chat with Peppe Miele, president, and Donato Rumi, marketing and promotion director for VPN Americas. For more information call 323 653-5792, web www,vobanerucas@me.com.

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Last Update:3/15/14

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