Milan Expo pizza created in Naples

Product 'aims to valorise national identity', Coldiretti says

26 March, 17:44

    (ANSA) - Naples, March 26 - Pizza makers in Naples on Thursday baked the first Neapolitan 'controlled designation of origin' pizza that is to be the symbol of the upcoming Expo world fair in Milan.

    The pizza was made on the initiative of farmers' association Coldiretti using local traditional specialities including buffalo mozzarella from Campania, Sorrento extra virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes and Vesuvio cherry tomatoes, all protected under the EU's system of geographical indications. It came on the day the Italian UNESCO commission was expected to green-light a proposal to include the art of the traditional Neapolitan pizza maker in the UN cultural organization's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    "Inclusion of pizza in the UNESCO list protects a business that generates 10 billion euros in Italy alone, in the roughly 63,000 pizzerias and take-away joints, outlets serving pizza by the slice and providing home delivery," Coldiretti said.

    The Neapolitan 'DOC' pizza for Expo was made in the Antica Pizzeria Brandi where legend has it that Italy's iconic margherita pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella and basil was first created for Margherita of Savoy, Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy, in June 1889. The colours of the ingredients - red, white and green - were allegedly intended to represent the colours of the Italian flag. "The pizza symbolising Expo aims to valorise national identity in a situation in which almost two in three pizzas (63 per cent) are obtained from a mix of flour, tomato, mozzarella and oil coming from thousands of kilometres away without any indication for consumers," Coldiretti said.

    "All too often the item served has been made using mozzarella obtained not from milk but from stored curd deriving from Eastern Europe, American or Chinese tomatoes, Tunisian or Spanish olive oil or even seed oil instead of Italian extra virgin and French, German or Ukrainian flour instead of flour obtained from Italian wheat," the association continued. "A river of raw materials that has unfortunately seriously compromised the Italian authenticity of the product served but also the formidable employment opportunities that can arise within the national food and agriculture sector," said Coldiretti president Roberto Moncalvo.

    Also on Thursday, Coldiretti reported that around four in 10 pizza makers in Italy are non-Italian and that there are some 6,000 vacant pizza-making jobs across the sector. At least 100,000 people are employed in the pizza sector on a regular basis with an additional 50,000 people hired at weekends to meet the rise in demand, the farmers' association said.

    Of the total, 65,000 are Italian while of the foreigners, most come from Egypt (approximately 20,000) and Morocco (over 10,000).

    In Italy five million pizzas are baked each day to a total of 1.5 billion a year, with an average consumption of 7.6 kg per person.

    This is second only to the Unites States where on average 13 kg of pizza are consumed per person per year.

    The campaign to have the art of the traditional Neapolitan pizza maker included on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage began in March 20011 with the backing of Coldiretti and former agriculture and environment minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio.

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