Author Topic: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre  (Read 4942 times)

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Offline jkandell

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Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« on: September 15, 2007, 10:09:39 AM »
I recently ate at an "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana" certified pizzeria, and was surprised to discover I didn't like it nearly as much as my own mediocre home-baked attempts.  The dough didn't have as much character, the olive oil wasn't as nice flavored, and the sauce wasn't as balanced.  I attribute this to quality of ingredients and dough handling.  (However, their home-made mozzarella was better than my store-bought.) At home I use organic all purpose flour, I use colavita olive oil, and I use Trader Joe's store-bought mozzarella, and Muir Glenn or Sunflower store label organic tomatoes.  Even worse, I bake in a 450F oven (or use a stone under the broiler).
 
Has anyone else experienced this phenomena?  I guess in retrospect it's obvious that just following the "rules" of the Association will not in itself ensure a good pizza.


Offline abatardi

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2007, 01:58:35 PM »
I noticed the same thing... which one did you eat at? 

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Offline josteh

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2007, 04:53:43 PM »
Hi,
I have had the same experiences, in Perugia (Italy) I ate at a vpn-certified pizzeria, and it was mediocre at best.. I was even in doubt they actually used a wood-burning oven.. Across the street though, there was another neapolitan pizzeria (La Mediterrenea, non-vpn) which had a phenomenal pie, the best I've eaten besides Da Michele in Napoli, I will even rate it better than the pie I had at Donna Margherita in London this spring (that said, I have only tried the Donna Margherita pie once, while i had lunch and dinner almost every day for one month at the pizzeria in Perugia ;D Another vpn-pizzeria i tried this summer at beautiful Sardegna (Italy), Papé Satan, produced a decent pizza, but then again, far from the best I have tried..
I have also eaten at two non-vpn pizzerias in Milano (Cozze&Anema and La piccola Ischia) which I also will rate better than the vpn-pizzerias I have tried..

Unfortunately I have not had the chance to visit vpn-pizzerias in the napoli-region..

Offline fabio

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2007, 11:08:20 PM »
I think there are a couple of chalenges to any vpn-like organization/system. First, the certification is based on your pizzeria meeting the standards at the time of certification, and perhaps at regular intervals. What's to stop a certified pizzeria from 'loosening' the standards while making pizze for the customer? Secondly, it costs money to become and stay certified; it is to the certifying organization's benefit to 'certify' as many pizzerie as possible. Loosening the standards or their enforcement means more money (within reason, of course; the end product needs to be in the right ballpark for their name and therefore their economic viability to stay intact).

A vpn-specific problem, in my opinion, keeping in mind that I'm no expert, is that they pay too much attention to the process as opposed to the end result. If my pizzeria uses a spiral mixer instead of a fork mixer, but I make pizze that are identical to Trianon's, then why can't I be vpn? Likewise, why can't I be vpn-certified if I am using a cold-fermentation technique if my pizze are just as good or better than a vpn-certified joint?

I understand that the avpn is trying to protect the artisinal process, which I applaud and encourage; but don't do that at the expense of the finished product. Why not protect the process and the product? Of course, that would involve certifiers visiting the location and actually trying the pizze an a regular basis, which is not realistic.

In the end being vpn-certified is good marketing, and not much else.

Offline toddster63

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2007, 02:07:10 AM »
I recently ate at Antica Pizzeria (that does the USA training sessions for VPN Americas certification), here in Los Angeles (Marina del Rey), and was excited when I walked as an entire pallet of Caputo 00 Pizzeria flour in 50 lb. bags (something like 800 pounds of it) took up an entire corner of the restaurant. "This is the real deal", I thought to myself. It was the first time I had partook of a Caputo pizza.

Overall, I wasn't impressed. The pizza crust was bitter, and not really soft (ala Naples), and not really crisp (ala NY). You could taste the char, but the dough seemed flavorless otherwise, sans an overall permeating bitterness. The sauce was utterly forgettable. The fresh mozzarella however was the real deal. For such a VPN Americas landmark, it was a let-down.

I've heard over and over on this site that once you start getting serious about making good pizza at home, that many of the touted pizzerias can be disappointing, and Antica Pizzeria proved this to me the other night. I've also heard around here, over and over, how little a VPN certification means.

Offline jkandell

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2007, 08:09:24 PM »
I recently ate at Antica Pizzeria [...]Overall, I wasn't impressed. The pizza crust was bitter, and not really soft (ala Naples), and not really crisp (ala NY). You could taste the char, but the dough seemed flavorless otherwise, sans an overall permeating bitterness. The sauce was utterly forgettable. The fresh mozzarella however was the real deal.

Toddster, this is exactly how I felt with vpn-certified Vero Amore in Tucson!  I had to give to them their cheese was better than mine, and their char-- but the crust didn't have character.  I'm guessing it wasn't aged much.  I do know, Josteh, that they're using wood fired ovens and 00Caputa and marzano tomatoes, because they had them out for us to see.  I also caught the baker patching up rips with small pieces of dough, which gave me "permission" to do the same thing at home, to my delight.  Since marinara lives or dies by the quality of the tomatoes, my muir glen and sunflower organic tomatoes taste better than their marzanos!  And--most important of all--my olive oil, while being the relatively cheap Colavita, tastes better than theirs.  As we know, Italian food lives or dies by the quality of the olive oil.  The owner had a sense of humor about it, though; when I told him his was only "ok" compared to mine (he asked, I didn't volunteer), he retorted "Well then bring yours in and we'll do a trade."   I haven't yet been to Bianco's a couple hours north, but I have a feeling the very things I don't like about Vero Amore will be present in the non-certified pizzeria.   
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 08:11:45 PM by jkandell »

Offline pizza concerto

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2007, 03:51:11 PM »
Toddster,

I also ate at Antica Pizzeria in the Marina recently, and couldn't agree more...I usually am able to take away something when I try a place, but not there...I think my tastebud memory was wiped clean, I couldn't tell you anything about it; forgettable.

On the other hand, JKandell, you really need to try Chris Bianco's for a place that your taste buds certainly WON'T forget anytime soon.  His crust has a great deal of air, and char...sorta like an artisan bread, but lighter.  Not VPN, but in his own way, has exceeded those standards IMHO. Plus his inventive use of toppings (not to mention that antipasti)...If I lived in Tucson, I'd be there twice a week!

Dan
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Offline jkandell

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2007, 09:24:23 PM »
JKandell, you really need to try Chris Bianco's for a place that your taste buds certainly WON'T forget anytime soon.  ...If I lived in Tucson, I'd be there twice a week!

90 minute drive plus the inevitable 20m traffic jam in Chandler, then a 2-4 hour wait.  Not a no-brainer by any means!  I'm thinking take a Wednesday off work, go to their sandwich shop for lunch and pizza for dinner. I'll report back after I go though.  I bake sourdough bread so I know quality crust and crumb.

Offline cd1168

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2007, 10:57:11 PM »
i have found that vpn places are only as good as their ethics.. i mean, like said earlier, once they become certified they could lower their standards. also i have found that places like sallys and difaras are far away better than anything from those vpn spots.. ask the old timers, they laugh at all this vpn stuff. they will tell you it is just pizza, not rocket science.. i also agree that learning from people on here and your own work at home will make you as good as any as you can buy and the rest will be disappointing.. i am so happy i can come here and read peoples ideas and things that work or do not, it is kinda like people are giving me their experience to help me overcome problems.

-with respect chris
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Offline scpizza

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 09:54:55 PM »
On the topic of VPN training, anyone know if the VPN training in Italy is higher quality than the US training (which I hear sucks)?

http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/eng_formazione.php

The availability of classes for kids under 10 years old is just plain weird.


Offline scott r

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 10:57:36 AM »
Yes, the Italian training is much better than the California VPN training was, but I think Roberto Caporuscio (a forum member) just took over the American VPN certification classes.  He definitely makes a much better pizza than Antica does.

Offline David

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 10:44:23 PM »
If i'm not mistaken Scott,I think he is representing the APN and not the Assoc. VPN.
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Offline Bobby Martino

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2008, 09:02:33 PM »
I guess they could be but I have a certified pizzeria and our following seems to think the pizza is fantastic.......I have tried several other un named VPN pizzerias and they are good but like Chris Bianco and Anthony Mangieri have both said that only 25% of their product impresses themselves I feel somewhat the same only I believe that most of the pizza I create is on a bad day better than average.  On a good day it can take you to Nirvana!

Offline thatguy

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2008, 04:16:02 PM »
is there any pies in Paris, france?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 05:16:37 PM by Pete-zza »
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Offline thatguy

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2008, 04:17:09 PM »
authentic Neapolitan than is...  ???
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 05:17:49 PM by Pete-zza »
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Offline Bobby Martino

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2008, 11:48:58 PM »
There very well could be but as far as VPN certified I don't think there are any in Paris however there is great pizza in France

« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 05:18:37 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline pizza concerto

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Re: Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana can be mediocre
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2008, 05:44:09 PM »
Some of the best I've had were from Southern France, specifically Nice, and Cannes...never tried one in Paris..
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