Eat & Drink

Italians Want World Heritage Status For Pizza And, Honestly, Same

Pizza is great. You can eat it for breakfast (we’ve all been there), lunch and dinner by the slice, pie or even in an ice cream cone, and it’s delicious every dang time.

Now, the Italian people – inventors of pizza and havers of excellent beaches – have started a petition requesting that UNESCO officially recognise Neapolitan pizza making as an art form, and two million people have already signed on.

Back in 2009, UNESCO established the Intangible Cultural Heritage list, which protects traditional cultural elements – like music, dance and food – in almost 40 different cultures. In terms of cuisine, the Mediterranean diet, Turkish coffee French gastronomy, Japanese washoku (a collective name for traditional Japanese food), Croatian gingerbread making and Mexican cuisine are recognised.

With UNESCO’s cultural heritage committee scheduled to meet next week in Seoul, it’s perfect timing for Neapolitan pizza to be added to the list.

“Neapolitan pizza has been officially recognised as a ‘guaranteed traditional speciality’ by the European Union since 2010, but now the aim is to secure international recognition,” Coldiretti, an Italian food producers association, told The Telegraph.

Such recognition would protect Neapolitan pizza from “food piracy and appropriation” (so long, pineapple on pizza). According to Coldiretti, true Neapolitan pizza is made from “flour made from Ukranian wheat, mozzarella made from Lithuanian curd, Tunisian olive oil and Chinese tomato puree”.

On top of that, pizzaiolos (or pizza makers) should stretch the dough by hand rather than rolling pin and cook it in a wood-fired oven on a stone slab.

Italy has been staunch in its belief that pizza was invented in Naples at the beginning of the 18th century and, honestly, who are we to argue?

UPDATE: UNESCO has announced it will recognise Neapolitan pizza-making (or pizzaiuoli) on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list alongside the Netherlands’ windmill and watermill operation, Iranian chogan — a horse-riding game involving music and storytelling — traditional boat-making from South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and the traditional dish nsima from Malawi.

(Lead image: Alexandra Gorn)