Le Delizie di Napoli
Napoli is full, just FULL of good things to eat, and believe me, I be eatin'...
La Pizza! Naples is the birthplace of pizza, the absolute classic being the Margherita. It takes just minutes (about 5) to cook in these traditional wood-fired ovens that have a temperature of around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a designation of La Vera Pizza Napoletana, that is awarded (much like the D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. of wines) to the Pizzaiolo (pizza maker) who makes his margherita with very strictly controlled ingredients. The mozzarella MUST be Mozzarella di Bufala, produced in Campania, the region of Naples. Next, the tomatoes must come from the volcanic soil surrounding Mount Vesuvius, and the basil must be fresh!! To top it all off, you put good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. (This is more or less accurate, but let's not be picky, k?) There was an actual law created by the Ministry of Agriculture that defined what La Vera Pizza Napoletana is composed of--these people are hardcore about their food, eh? But, that is one of the things I love about this country.
Baba' al Rhum--a typical Neapolitan dessert that is made of sponge cake, baked in a (typically) mushroom shape, then soaked in rum syrup. They can be found plain, stuffed with chocolate or pastry cream, or topped with whipped cream and tart little wild strawberries. The latter is my favorite because the baba' is so sweet that it needs the tartness of those strawberries to give it a little complexity. For most, the unadorned baba' is the unbeatable classic, but for me, pleasure is in the balance of flavors.
There ya go, just a couple of the culinary classics of Napoli. Don't worry, I'll be back with more. But now, ho voglia di dolce!