While we walk into the future, everything must be “new.”
Naples city’s name comes from the Latin “Nea-Polis” (New – City).
Now, the NeoNeapolitan pizza style stands for New-Neapolitan.
NeoNeapolitan indicates an American pizza, made by using Italian techniques.
NeoNeapolitan pizza style
Today I was thinking about this pizza style: I was asking myself, “is it a real style? should I talk about it?”. Then I thought at all the controversial ways of thinking, at the criticism that could grow around my explanation of this style. So, because I like these kinds of arguments: here I am writing about the NeoNeapolitan style. Or, as many people call it: NewNeapolitan or NeoPolitan. Please choose the word that you like the most.
Let’s start with some etymology: NEO is a Latin word that means new.
Naples (in Italian: Napoli) comes from a Greek word “NEAPOLIS” that means “NEW CITY” (Polis = city).
Many settlers were moving to this city before its born. Whenever “something” was landing in Naples, the city was taking it and learning from it. And any time the city “was borning again” as a “new city” (NEA – POLIS) embracing and welcoming any new arrival.
It is no surprise, then, that Naples became the birthplace of pizza. And from there, pizza spread throughout the world, inspiring new creations and styles. One of these is the NeoNeapolitan style, which combines Italian pizza-making techniques with American pizza culture.
The term “NeoNeapolitan” first appeared in the United States in the 2000s, when a group of pizzaiolos (pizza makers) sought to create a pizza that was inspired by the Neapolitan, but adapted to the American market. The idea was to make a pizza that was lighter and easier to digest than the typical American pizza, but still had a crispy crust and fresh toppings.
Today, NeoNeapolitan pizza has become a popular style in many parts of the world, including Canada, where I have been making and teaching this style for years. While some purists might argue that it is not a “real” style of pizza, I believe that it is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of pizza-making and the creativity of pizza chefs around the world.
The NeoNeapolitan pizza idea
The idea behind the NeoNeapolitan pizza style is to highlight the ongoing evolution of Neapolitan style pizza. As pizza-making techniques, ingredients, and equipment have advanced, so too has the Neapolitan style pizza. By using traditional Italian methods while incorporating modern innovations, the NeoNeapolitan style aims to create a fresh and unique take on a classic pizza style.
Travel to LA
I heard about this style during a trip to Los Angeles with some Canadian chefs. The trip’s purpose was to have a close look at some new kind of pizza growing in popularity in LA.
The pizzas we saw had a very charcoal crust, crunchy dough, delicious local ingredients as toppings, sourdough aftertaste due to a long maturation process.
Someone asked me, “can we call it Neapolitan??”
I couldn’t have said that was Neapolitan pizza, even if it was very close to it.
In my opinion, that pizza was a Traditional style with substantial similarity to the Neapolitan. Then, a chef from LA made everything clear by saying, “this is the NeoNeapolitan.”
the NeoNeapolitan style was born in LA when some chefs started to experiment with the traditional Neapolitan recipe, resulting in a more sophisticated version. You also found an article in Pizza Today that discusses the differences between Neapolitan and NeoNeapolitan pizzas.
Neapolitan style VS NeoNeapolitan
From the same article I mentioned above, I found this exciting table comparing the two pizza styles.
I mainly agree with everything on this table except for the 3rd line. The dough weight range for Neapolitan pizza is 200-280g, as per the disciplinare in paragraph 2.1.5 on Fermentation/Dough Rising:
For “Verace Pizza Napoletana” – (Vera Pizza Napoletana), the dough balls must weigh between 200 and 280 g to obtain a pizza with a diameter between 22 – 35 cm.
Also, I have to say that the NeoNeapolitan style dough ball rarely is over 270 g.