Author Topic: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan  (Read 4356 times)

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Offline grovemonkey

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VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« on: February 14, 2007, 12:00:24 AM »
I was fishing around a Japanese web board and someone posted a listing of the Japanese pizza shops with the VPN certification (do you get some certificate?) and I was wondering what this means?  Can someone shed some light on this?  I'd like to get a few opinions on the subject.  The list of Japanese pizza shops is interesting because I went to Forno Napoli and it was pretty good, they have a ton of different pizzas they offer and we ate 4 when we went there, it was good and fairly crowded.  the link for all the VPN shops in Japan is here http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/shownaz.php?n=Giappone

Any background or criticisms or information would be appreciated?  I'm curious if there are other organizations similar to this within Italy?

grove


Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 03:59:53 AM »
Hi Grove,

I have expressed my view on VPN, in particular with the US branch.... (just search the forum).

Anyway, there is indeed another association in Naples, APN, and together the two are the only bodies that can certify a pizzeria is serving STG standard pizza. Bare in mind that the membership of VPN or APN by itself do not guarantee this, and there is a further step (and cost) associated with the STG certification.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 14, 2007, 04:03:07 AM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline grovemonkey

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2007, 06:28:40 AM »
Do you think those governing bodies are legitimate, in your own opinion?  are they a standard for quality or do great places in naples not even bother?  obviously these organizations couldn't have been around that long to be able to set the standards but there must be something to these organizations.  Of course they could be like many licensing organizations I've seen, they basically are money pits that say nothing about the quality of an item, really.  I know in Japan, as a culture, they loves certificates and certificate based recognition so I understand the popularity of this with japanese pizzarias in trying to gain recognition/competitive edge but many times those certifications say nothing about the quality.  It can go both ways, I imagine.

as a side note pizzanapoletana, I saw a post you put up with an oven on wheels.. i thought that is very interesting and was wondering if you have ever installed an oven on a mobile truck for street pizza.  In tokyo we see all these lunch trucks with generic ovens in the trucks with people making various lunch dishes for working class people.  thought it might be a fun adventure to get one your ovens put on a truck and making pizza for the lunch crowd or in a busy nighttime district where there are many parties looking for pizza.  (just an idea)


Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2007, 08:19:06 AM »
Grove,

I have expressed my opinion on VPN. It started with good intentions, but now, in particular in US, it is just a money machine IMO.  APN was founded by pizzamakers that did not like the new direction and so founded their own organization. As all these people involved started the government certification for Pizza Napoletana together, so now both are the two organised body that can release the certification.

remember membership and certification are two different things.

About the quality issue, how can for example VPN America do not tell his trainees and members that the must use certain tools whilst the founding member in Italy knows very well and preach about what oven, mixer etc must be used. For what I hear, Japanese member were better at this as well as until recently they all came to Naples and trained in Neapolitan Pizzeria and thus learning what tools must be used.

About the Oven on truck, I think it was discussed on this forum some time ago. I do not think putting an authentic oven behind a truck would make it last very long    , although I have seen one is Sorrento some time ago.
 
Ciao

Offline JAG

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2007, 10:31:20 AM »
Grovemonkey:
Check this sight out. Mobile pizza, used for catering.

Antique auto restoration and pizza combined, simply heaven on earth.

http://www.biggreentruckpizza.com/7_001.htm

JAG

Offline grovemonkey

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2007, 03:50:21 PM »
Jag,

That's pretty cool. I like that.  For parties or catered outdoor events that's got to be a nice little side business.  I wonder how bumps in the road, etc would effect this kind of device, I'd at least want great shocks on the vehicle as I'm not sure how sturdy an oven is to bumps and jarring?

pizzanapoletana,

Thanks for the information. 

Offline shango

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2007, 05:43:05 PM »
The strange thing is that the VPN fees are very small....
Hardly what I would call a cash cow..

 ???
-E
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline grovemonkey

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2007, 07:06:56 PM »
Shango,

I find that very interesting that the costs are low.  Here in Japan, when I started my recruiting company I had to get a license to do business.  Basically all it required was I make sure my company had a certain amount of money, meeting room space and a 2000 dollar registration fee.  In addition, I had to attend an 8 hour lecture that I didn't even understand.  For me, that meant nothing other than I'm just paying money to an organization that doesn't really stand for anything.  All this did was legally allow me to have a agency but it said nothing about the business standards we have or the quality of our service, our experience in our industry..etc.  In 6 years of business they have done no monitoring or observing, it's just a piece of paper.   That doesn't impress me.

If it's low cost and it helps you attract people, that's great.  Why wouldn't you do it if you were creating this style of pizza?  Unless having the certification actually, in some way, made you loose customers.  Somehow I doubt your going to loose a big base of customers because of these certificates.  The real question is does having them improve sales?  I can imagine that since not many people even know about these, especially the Japanese, I doubt they do much other than add some flair and maybe a converstation piece.

Offline abatardi

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2007, 01:50:57 AM »
The strange thing is that the VPN fees are very small....
Hardly what I would call a cash cow..

 ???
-E

I agree... last I read it was $200 application fee and $200 yearly membership fees.  I pay more than that yearly for an amex biz card..

- aba
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2007, 03:43:11 AM »
You have to certify the pizzeria and the Pizzamakers (unless the pizzamaker somehow satisfy "their" standards. The course for the pizzamakers (from feedback of someone I know that just did it in September) doesn't really teach you much and in fact they show you something quite different from what done in Naples (the guy that did the course came to Naples a week later and realized to have wasted "just" few thousands dollars...)

Arguably is not much, but it is still money. It does give you the certificate that may serve you for marketing, BUT DO NOT GUARANTEE anything in term of authenticity and quality.

Ciao


Offline grovemonkey

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2007, 06:17:57 AM »
If what they are teaching people in their course is expensive and different than from what people in naples are really doing, that's very strange.  Since your friend was there and did the course and then learned something different when he went to naples, what are those differences he learned?   I assume you are talking about the VPN and some course that people are required to take.

I find it interesting there is some expensive course required.  Is this really the case? I mean, this seems different than what shango and the other fellow suggested by saying it was only 200$ plus a 200$ yearly membership.  What's up with this?

All of this is really bouncing around the idea of what's the most accessible way to gain knowledge in this type of pizzamaking from a hands on approach. I though perhaps you could enroll in these programs with a mind toward creating an authentic neapolitan style pizza shop.  Maybe it's not really the purpose of them however. 

 My personally feeling is eat at lot of places, get an oven, start practicing recipes, open a small shop when you get good enough, start small and then grow or try to take an apprenticeship under a business until you get enough knowledge and then start your own small shop.   You can always just find a chef, poach him from another restuarant and have him work for your business, but that's the recruiter in me coming out.  :)

grove

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2007, 07:04:17 AM »
We were talking about what VPN means.

The guy is not my friend, but an American who is opening a restaurant and needed a certification for marketing purposes. He went to Naples to research and observed both final product and production methodology were way apart from what he was tought in the states. He believed to have been "ripped off". He did not want to make the thing public has he want the membership (marketing) but similar story had been experienced by other VPN members.

All I  am trying to say  is that as far as you pay and have a minimum of camuflage, they give you the certificate, membership etc (which in the first year by the way can total about $3000 (course, sign, membership).

the other association in Naples would not issue membership and certificates if they are not sure that the real traditional product is produced with the right tools to ensure that (see for example the last post by Brad -Settebello about the ovens... ). The STG document specifically indicates for example which mixer must be used and the one used by probably 90% of their US members is not even listed)

Ciao

Offline grovemonkey

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2007, 09:15:45 AM »
I appreciate the reply.  Thanks.

Offline abatardi

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2007, 11:24:46 AM »
The course is not required to get the VPN certification here... So first year fees are $700 ($200 app fee, $200 first year dues, $300 to buy a VPN sign)...

Plus it seems there are only about 15 members in the US... ???  Wish I could get a list to verify because there is a place in palo alto that has a sign that serves mediocre at best pies that aren't even wood fired (or if they are it's fired at about 500 degrees).  I wonder if they just found an old sign.

- aba
« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 11:33:01 AM by abatardi »
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2007, 01:21:13 PM »
Aaron,

The VPN/USA site provides a list of its U.S. members at http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/vpn/vpn_frames-index.htm. Click on "Members" at the bottom of the page. As noted, the list is as of 8/06.

Peter

Offline shango

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2007, 08:10:34 PM »
I cannot find anything about the mixer..I heard something once about it having to have a certain gear size ( one that has been out of production for many years ).

I have noticed that if you are using a Hobart the order in which you add the ingredients is very important.
This will help to eliminate lumps and other unpleasantries.
This order of ingredient addition is clearly addressed in the "disciplinaire" (the translated one).

-E
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline abatardi

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2007, 10:52:20 PM »
Aaron,

The VPN/USA site provides a list of its U.S. members at http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/vpn/vpn_frames-index.htm. Click on "Members" at the bottom of the page. As noted, the list is as of 8/06.

Peter

ahh...they are a member... that sucks.  they really do produce some average, or not so average pies...definitely not neapolitan.  oh well.

- Aaron
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Offline grovemonkey

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2007, 01:15:13 AM »
I wonder what it was about that pizza that made it not neapolitan?   

were the fundamentals there.. just poor execution? 

I'm interested to know. 

I wonder where the threshholds for pizza neapolitan exist?  At what point is it safe to say.. this isn't pizza neapolitan.  I'm sure we can say that if it doesn't use this type of oven, it can't possibly be pizza neapolitan.  If it doesn't use such and such ingrediant, it can't be pizza neapolitan.  If it doesn't cook under 1 1/2 mintues, it can't possibly be pizza neapolitan.  (I'm not sure if any of those are actually the case, just mentioning them as possibilities)

Then I imagine that even if you do define boundries, that gets a bit fuzzy when a bunch of people over here define a boundry and some guys over here define a different one... hence the problem with these certifications, any of them really.

grove

Offline abatardi

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2007, 02:49:32 AM »
It was a while ago, but I remember they didn't even use fresh mozz.  The crust was flat and bready with no char at all and the entire pizza was pretty salty.  Not good.  It's not too far though and I'm up in that area once in a while so I will give it another try at some point to see if it was some weird fluke.

- aba
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: VPN and what it means to pizza neapolitan
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2007, 03:45:13 AM »
I cannot find anything about the mixer..I heard something once about it having to have a certain gear size ( one that has been out of production for many years ).

I have noticed that if you are using a Hobart the order in which you add the ingredients is very important.
This will help to eliminate lumps and other unpleasantries.
This order of ingredient addition is clearly addressed in the "disciplinaire" (the translated one).

-E

MINISTERO DELLE POLITICHE AGRICOLE E FORESTALI
Proposta di riconoscimento della specialita' tradizionale garantita «pizza Napoletana»
GU n. 120 del 24-5-2004 (On the official law magazine of the italian government)

Art. 3. Metodo specifico di produzione e di lavorazione

La preparazione della «pizza Napoletana» comprende esclusivamente le seguenti fasi da realizzarsi con le materie prime elencate nell'art. 2 in ciclo continuo nello stesso esercizio.

1) Preparazione dell'impasto:
.....
L'impasto deve essere lavorato nell'impastatrice preferibilmente a forcella per 20 minuti a bassa velocita' fino a che non si ottiene un'unica massa compatta. Per ottenere un'ottimale consistenza dell'impasto, e' molto importante la quantita' d'acqua che una farina e' in grado di assorbire. L'impasto deve presentarsi al tatto non appiccicoso, morbido ed elastico.


And the following one of the ealies draft before realising that with the below they could not charge their member in US (still visible on VPN Italy website http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/images/file/disciplinare.pdf):
.....
Le impastatrici utilizzate sono, in genere, del tipo a “forcella” o a “spirale” a doppia velocità: adatte quindi alla realizzazione di impasti medio-duri o teneri. L’impastatrice a spirale rispetto a quella a forcella consente una minore aerazione (ossidazione) dell’impasto e sviluppa una maggiore quantità di calore. L’uso delle impastatrici a “bracci tuffanti” consentirebbe tempi di lavorazione più brevi ed un’ottima aerazione dell’impasto. Una eccessiva lavorazione (con il conseguente ri-scaldamento meccanico) comporta “incordatura” dell’impasto cioè l’organizzazione sotto forma di fibra della maglia glutinica con grave pregiudizio delle proprietà meccaniche.

You still do not believe me????
That is what I mean about opening your eyes... the info are out there for you to find. And the trip to Naples would open your eyes at once. I do not mean offence, but you are writing in a chalanging way (even when we start talking about starters) and have no the right knowledge to do so.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 02:24:23 PM by pizzanapoletana »


 

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