Nov. 12, 2012
-- The Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) hosts the annual Pizza Olympics each year in Naples, Italy, where some 40 pizza ovens are lined up outdoors and manned by the world's top pizzaioli, who compete to make the best pizza.
LA Chef Jose Barrios competed in the Pizza Olympics this past July and took third place, taking home a metal which proofs that he's one of the most skilled VPN pizzaioli in the US. You’ll have the unique opportunity to meet Chef Barrios and to try is award-winning pizzas this week only at Alimentari Osteria, 621 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Call 312-382-8880 for a reservation.
What does it take for pizza to be certified VPN? Under existing regulations (new ones have been proposed for Europe), the dough must be kneaded by hand or with a mixer approved by the association. After rising, the dough must be shaped by hand -- no rolling pins allowed. The pizza must be cooked on the bare volcanic stone surface of a bell-shaped, wood-fired pizza oven. Margherita, the most classic of the five pizzas VPN recognizes, must include tomatoes (imported San Marzano or fresh Italian plum tomatoes), extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and pecorino Romano. Barbecued chicken pizzas and Hawaiian specials need not apply. It also must be served straight out of the oven.
You don't have to fly to Italy for a nice VPN pizza since of the 12 approved pizzerias in the U.S. , Chef Barrios, is now doing his magic at Alimentari Osteria.