Lisa Jackson of Eat Drink Travel Magazine shares the staple foods of Naples from her latest journey through the city’s streets.
Naples is full of ancient ruins, architectural marvels and mysterious catacombs to explore, but for food lovers, the city’s gastronomic wonders are also a star attraction. Offering everything from pizza to pastries to pasta, this southern Italian city has some of the world’s most mouth-watering foods. Kick off your culinary journey by taste testing these classic Neapolitan eats and sweets.
Pizza Napoletana TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed)
Why not embark on a pizza pilgrimage in the place that perfected the modern-day pizza? Doughy pizzas blister in wood-fired ovens across the city, and in Naples, pizza-making is serious business: the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana regulates what constitutes an authentic Neapolitan pizza.
TSG status specifies the types of ingredients used in a true Pizza Napoletana, which can be distinguished as either Pizza Margherita or Pizza Marinara. Avoid breaking the “pizza rules” and seek out a slice made with authentic Italian ingredients: doppio zero flour (00), Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, Italian extra virgin olive oil, and above all, Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino PDO tomatoes grown in the lava-rich soil near Mount Vesuvius.
When it comes to Neapolitan pasta, the showstopper is Ragù’ alla Napoletana – a meat-laden tomato sauce that takes roughly six hours to cook. Recipes vary across Neapolitan households, but always sprinkle grated pecorino on top!
Fried Finger Foods
Naples is a fried food haven, teeming with street stalls selling tasty finger-foods to-go, such as arancini (breaded rice balls packed with minced meat, tomato sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO, and other flavourful fillings) to pesce fritto al cono (hand-held paper cones brimming with breaded seafood) to floppy fried pizza filled with smoked Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO (also locally known as Provola), Ricotta di Bufala Campana PDO, and other regional ingredients.
After a slew of savoury snacks, it’s time for a little sweetness! Gelaterie are abundant in Naples, offering silky Italian-made gelato in a rainbow of flavours and generously scooped into cups or cones. It may be agonizing to choose a flavour, but pick one that blends authentic Italian ingredients, ingredients, such as Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO nuts, which are grown in Sicilian soil, or the local Nocciola di Giffoni PGI (hazelnut).
When in Naples, eating endless pastries should definitely be a food goal. For a signature snack, grab freshly-baked sfogliatelle – a flaky, shell-shaped pastry oozing with citrusy ricotta and other decadent fillings. For a boozy treat, there’s the rum-infused babà Napoletano typically filled with whipped cream and fruit, like strawberries and black cherries, as well as Limoncello liqueur made from Limone di Sorrento PGI.