Just imagine. You are in a foreign country and you have been eating the local cuisine now for weeks. And while you enjoy the exotic flavors, you would like a bit of a change. Your tummy is calling for something a little more familiar. So what do you do? You go on the hunt for pizza. But since you have eaten pizza in Italy, you cannot settle for just any pizza—you want the good stuff.
Sitting in an “Italian” restaurant, in your country of choice, you order a pizza, a Margherita to be exact. What comes to your table is some sad-looking, thick slab of cardboard drenched in cheese. You are starving so you eat it anyways, but it is disgusting and unacceptable. The crust is too thick and it is soggy. There is so much cheese that you can hardly see the sauce, but maybe that is a good thing because it is looks like ketchup. You don’t want to say anything to the waiter; it isn’t his fault. So you pay the bill and walk away, disillusioned. And your tummy starts to rumble. Has this ever happened to you?
Italians love beautiful places and you can find them almost anywhere in the world, making traditional Italian pizza with local ingredients. If it is a great pizza you seek, look no further. The following steps will aid you on your upcoming quest for a tasty, thin crust Italian pizza.
1. Find an Italian.
Ask an Italian in town where they go to eat pizza. Anybody born in Italy will point you in the right direction. They know where to find the best pizza and will share this information with you. All you have to do is ask. Go on, don’t be shy.
2. Can’t find an Italian? Look at the names of Italian restaurants.
If you are in a bigger city, try to find a phone book. If you are in a smaller town, just ask at your hotel or hostel where the Italian restaurants are located and what they are called. Da Guiseppe or Da anybody is usually a good sign. Try to find places that sound Italian but not too obvious; any place called Romeo and Julietta is probably not a good bet.
3. Study the menu.
What kinds of pizza are available? Is there a Margherita on the menu? If it says extra cheese be forewarned.
What other ingredients do they offer? Mozzarella di bufala, proscuitto di parma, and rucola indicate si this place has potential.
4. Find out if the owner is Italian.
If not, you better keep looking, unless of course they have studied the art of pizza making in Italy.
5. Speak to the owner.
If the owner is around, this is good sign. It means they care about their restaurant. Ask the owner directly what style of pizza they make. Is it Italian thin crust? What do they recommend?
6. Confirm the presence of a wood-fired oven. You should be able to see it when you walk in to the restaurant.
The oven should be wood-fired in order to achieve the extremely hot temperature required for Italian pizza. Some modern-day gas ovens can also reach the desired temperatures but food fired pizza has a slightly different taste.
7. Have a look at a customer’s pizza.
Does it look good? Would you like to eat it? If you can see bubbles on the crust, then you know that at least the crust will be up to snuff.