When you think of landmarks, things that come to mind might be the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal, but what about pizza? A landmark that probably wouldn’t last 5 minutes when placed in front of a hungry eater? Seems unlikely as landmarks are usually physical markers, but they can also be something that is part of a country’s brand identity.
Italy has submitted an application to UNESCO proposing the addition of Neapolitan pizza to their list of cultural landmarks. This list relates to “intangible cultural heritage” and protects a country’s culture and traditions. Since pizza-making is an indelible part of Italian cultural life, it would definitely fit the bill in that it would “help demonstrate the diversity of [cultural] heritage and raise awareness about its importance.”
According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, AVPN, real Italian Neapolitan pizza is made from a base of risen dough and cooked in a wood fire oven. The pizza should be “soft, elastic, easy to manipulate and fold. The centre should be particularly soft to the touch and taste, where the red of the tomato is evident…The crust should deliver the flavour of well prepared, baked bread. This mixed with the slightly acidic flavour of the densely enriched tomatoes, and the respective aroma of oregano and garlic or basil and the cooked mozzarella ensures that the pizza, as it emerges from the oven, delivers its characteristic aroma perfumed and fragrant.” I’m starving, is anyone else hungry all of a sudden? Quite the description.
Basically, Italy wants real Neapolitan pizza to be distinguished from other types that don’t fall into their pizza-ideals, such as New York-style pizza. Pretty sure that means you’re outta there too, deep dish pizza.
Pizza as a cultural landmark isn’t a far-fetched idea, as other countries’ cultural practices such as Korean tightrope walking and Portuguese cowbell manufacturing are already recognized by Unesco.
The proposal had the help of a petition that had over 850,000 signatures worldwide and the decision will be made in 2017. Without a doubt, Italian pizza-making is unique and will most likely get the stamp of approval. I mean, a piping hot pizza pie has to be one of the most selfied-with foods, already giving it landmark status with the masses.
Should pizza be deemed a cultural landmark? Let us know in the comments!