Your Dream Saturday: A Pizza Tour of New York

Food & Drink, History
January 6, 2012 5:21 pm

Pizza’s history may seem simple. It starts in Italy and migrates to NYC, right? Turns out, it’s far more complicated and fascinating!

I recently attended a deliciously fantastic and enthusiastic pizza tour, run by Scott himself of Scott’s Pizza Tours in NYC. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an alternative way to show your friends around NYC—potentially even avoiding a double decker bus tour—but in the meantime a little history can help you enjoy just where your pizza came from.

Forcella was our first stop. This is authentic Italian pizza from the town of Naples (or Napoli), where pizza was invented. It was originally eaten by folding it in half once, and then again, with the crusts facing up and the center of the circle at the bottom, like a crepe.

Forcella (on Bowery & Bond, Manhattan) lets their dough rise for 24 hours, leaving air in the crust and creating a lighter, softer, chewier crust. The oven is made from special bricks from Serrano, Italy, and is powered by a wood-burning fire. In Naples, Italy, wood is the cheapest because it burns longer at hotter temps, so they could cook pizzas faster and therefore sell more. Pizzas are cooked for about a minute or less, toppings and all, because the oven is over 800 degrees!

The first pizza toppings were lard, bacon. Tomato came later—people thought it was poisonous in Europe even after it got there. Cheese is the most expensive so it was the last topping. It wasn’t until 1899 that Queen Margherita lent her name to that great pizza by choosing cheese and tomato as her favorite toppings.

The founder of the famous Lombardi’s in NYC came over from Naples, Italy in the late 1890’s but all he brought was “the concept of pizza,” according to Scott. He had to switch to coal instead of wood because it was cheaper. The oven was bigger, making the cook time longer. And the ingredients changed, since different continents host different tomatoes, flour, and animals which produce different cheeses. This creates a denser, crispier and flatter slice at Lombardi’s than you’d find in Naples, Italy.

Finally, in the 1950’s a gas oven became more common, allowing for even lower cooking temperatures and even longer cook times. Pizzerias could actually reheat slices in their ovens, allowing them to reheat and sell a single slice at a time. Cool, right? There are so many more fun facts (and so much pizza to be eaten) on Scott’s tours. Visit his site to book!


Related posts:



Powered by Facebook Comments

This article was written by on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. Tags:

Leave a Reply

The Best Travel Instagrammers

March 15, 2013 0 comments

Here it is… We’ve been Instagramming since April 2011, and we’ve developed pretty strong feelings about our favorite traveling Instagrammers. We like to call this the “starter pack”—follow away!

Continue Reading →

Carnival in Trinidad Party Report

February 22, 2013 2 comments
Carnival in Trinidad Party Report

As promised, my coverage of Carnival in Trinidad continues. Below is my “Just Back From” post I penned for Fodor’s Travel that details the Carnival highlights, from whining, liming and feting to everything in between. Also, you can learn what exactly those Trinidadian English terms mean in the Fodor’s post linked here: Just Back From: Carnival in Trinidad I talked a bit about high-energy, have-to-move-your-body, soca music in the post. In the video below you can hear more of the […]

Continue Reading →

Food Tours and Experiences in Buenos Aires

November 13, 2013 0 comments
Food Tours and Experiences in Buenos Aires

There’s a long-awaited and much-welcomed gastronomic revolution happening in Buenos Aires at present, and locals and visitors alike are winning with dinner, lunch and every other bite. My post for Forbes details some of the best ways to get in on it with tours, a chef’s table event and if you’re in town at the right time, fairs and restaurant weeks. Buenos Aires For Foodies   Once regarded as a land for great steak and not much else when it […]

Continue Reading →

Art Classes for Beginners in NYC

January 6, 2014 2 comments
Art Classes for Beginners in NYC

Drawing and painting is a great wintertime hobby outside the typical hibernation routine, and NYC has a plethora of options. These three are my favorites for their attitude, and their relationship to the city and the art world.

Continue Reading →