Interview with Antonio Pace, AVPN President
NEAPOLITAN PIZZA IS FAMOUS BECAUSE IT IS GOOD, BUT NEAPOLITAN PIZZA MAKERS ARE REQUIRED BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST
Q: President Pace, when the AVPN - Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was born and what was the purpose of the association?
A: The goals is always the same since the creation of the Association
in 1984: to protect the recipe of the Neapolitan pizza, educate people
on its origins coming from the city of Naples, and demonstrate to the
world the right way to make pizza. We have created a pizza training
school in which everybody from around the world can learn how to make a
real Neapolitan pizza. We have delegations around the world: America,
Japan, Australia, Brazil ... serving to teach the art of making pizza.
Today the Association is present in five continents and 28
countries…sorry 29. In February we put a flag in Bangkok.
Q: How many members are recognized by AVPN has and how does one become a member?
A: Currently the association counts 650 members. They are not so many
because the brand Verace Pizza Napoletana is not for sale, you have to
conquer it. On our websites you can find all the information explaining
how to become a member: the applicant must show the ability to make a
Verace Pizza Napoletana. First with documentation (photos and videos),
then, during a site visit, making a pizza in front of us. Only after
that we concede the brand and the signboard. Beware though, everything
remains as a property of the Association. We can suspend and cancel the
member anytime. Nowadays, around the world, we have suspended eight
members and withdrawn another six. When the pizzerias change the method
and they are no longer interested in making Neapolitan pizza, we take
back the trademark.
Q: Members must make only Neapolitan pizza or they can do other types of pizza?
A: Once, our members had to make just pizza. Today we understand that
the market is changed and, what we ask, is to make sure to not create
confusion between the Neapolitan pizza and other kind of pie. Members
haven’t had to smuggle other types of pizza under Neapolitan pizza. If
they do different style there must be a very clear distinction between
the Neapolitan pizza and other types of pizza.
Q: There is also a
register of suppliers approved by the Association. How do you become
approved supplier and what is the relationship between them and the
A: We made a contract with the Federico II University of
Portici and, with their collaboration, we made a regulation that lists
the characteristics of the products that can be part of the Verace Pizza
Napoletana. Companies that want to join the Register have to send a
sample of their products at the University, who analyzes them. Only if
they reach our standards, the products can be inserted in the register.
This Register of the Approval Suppliers is not compulsory for the
members, but it is a useful guide. When somebody has to buy some
products, they can choose suppliers among those found in the register,
which products have been certified, while using other suppliers, they
may have to take a risk.
In 2014 the companies listed in the
register have exported about 180-200 million euros, mainly because of
our associates around the world who buy their products having the
guarantee that they are buying the right ones to make the Verace Pizza
Napoletana. If some companies change their products, they can be removed
from the register.
Q: What is the secret of True Neapolitan Pizza, and how to recognize it?
A: Neapolitan pizza has a very clear system of production. It is a
round soft pizza with a “cornicione” (crust) outside. If you push the
cornicione and it returns to its original position, you can continue to
eat the pizza; if not, give up, because you are not eating a Neapolitan
pizza. Then the pizza must be well cooked with a brown color, but not
too dark. There shouldn’t be too many burns and it must remain soft so
that it bends. It must never become hard or crunchy. For the Margherita
pizza we created an exceptional set of ingredients: mozzarella, tomato,
extra virgin olive oil, a basil leaf and, in Naples, (but only in
Naples) we put a sprinkle of grated cheese. I think it is difficult to
create another pizza with a better taste. Neapolitan pizza is famous
because it is good, while the Neapolitan pizza chefs are requested
because they are the best and belonging to an old school. We promote the
pizza and Naples. If outside Naples you can find a good pizza, this is