Caserta is more and more the capital of pizza

Forget Naples: the third edition of 50 Top Pizza had Pepe and Martucci winning together. And they’re both from Caserta

31-07-2019
In Naples, on Tuesday 23rd July, the award giving

In Naples, on Tuesday 23rd July, the award giving event for the third edition of 50 Top Pizza ended with everyone on the stage, celebrating the victory of two people: Franco Pepe and Francesco Martucci

Three out of three: for the third time, out of three editions, Franco Pepe won the 50 Top PizzaPepe in Grani in Caiazzo, in the province of Caserta, is still number one in Italy, and therefore in the world, but it is no longer alone. After winning solo twice, the ceremony at Teatro Mercadante in Naples had a surprising finale: after confirming the third place to Ciro Salvo and 50 Kalò in Naples, there was no second place. On the screen, a white, empty image appeared. The bewilderment, among the 500 people in the audience, only lasted a few seconds because Luciano Pignataro, one of the curators, together with Barbara Guerra and Albert Sapere, explained the mystery: «There’s no second place because we have two establishments at number one: Pepe in grani and Masianelli». That is to say Franco Pepe and Francesco Martucci, from the town of Caserta itself.

In the end, only three people on stage. Left to right Francesco Martucci, Ciro Salvo and Franco Pepe

In the end, only three people on stage. Left to right Francesco MartucciCiro Salvo and Franco Pepe

The two men, who were already on stage, like Ciro Salvo and all the other winners of the continental list, had different reactions. Martucci burst into an understandable joy, as if he had scored in the world cup finals. Pepe, who’s used to first places, being the piazzaiolo whom all the world loves and respects, had the sad expression of the cyclist who’s been caught up at the very end. They shook hands and hugged, because that’s what professionals do, in public, but it was clear he wasn’t satisfied.

I understand myself two shared first places when there’s a stopwatch or a grading mechanism, regardless of the judges’ opinion. It’s harder to understand when the question is about choosing between two people. In that case, a jury should be able to express a judgement that separates the two competitors, finding something small that will justify the first place given to one, and the second to the other. In Hollywood, they always say “the winner is…”, never “the winners are…”.

Franco Pepe congratulates himself with Ciro Salvo for the third place, in a freeing embrace 

Franco Pepe congratulates himself with Ciro Salvo for the third place, in a freeing embrace 

Having said this, 50 Top Pizza has the great merit of offering a global stage for pizza, the result of the almost 150 inspectors from all around the planet, with around 1,000 pizzerias visited in Italy, plus a hundred or so abroad. A huge job that manages to be rather balanced between Naples and all that happens far away from town. In the sense that the curators give for granted that a pizza in Brazil, in the US or in Japan, no matter how good it can be on the palate, will never be up to the standards of the best 50 establishments in Italy. Instead, I’d like it if distant worlds were in competition, because I guess we’d taste some nice surprises.

Finally, Franco Pepe and Francesco Martucci hug as well

Finally, Franco Pepe and Francesco Martucci hug as well

It would be impossible to list all the names. For that, there’s a website I invite readers to visit. What’s important is that the fifty places at the top represent 14 regions out of 20: first Campania with 18, then Lazio 7, Lombardy 6, Veneto 4, Emilia Romagna 3, Piedmont, Tuscany and Sicily 2, finally Liguria, Marche, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Apulia and Sardinia with one each. Pier Daniele Seu, of Seu Pizza Illuminati, in Rome, is the pizzaiolo of the year. He also won the vegan pizza of the year award with his Cruciferous vegetables, cream of mustard and hazelnutsLorenzo Sirabella, of Dry Milano, is the young pizzaiolo of the year, while the New Pizzeria in 2019 is Pizzeria Da Lionello in Succivo (Caserta) and Francesco andSalvatore Salvo’s Cosacca is the pizza of the year.

Finally, the first twelve places: 1st joint place. Pepe in Grani in Caiazzo and I Masianelli in Caserta; 3. 50 Kalò in Naples; 4. Gino Sorbillo ai Tribunali in Naples; 5. I Tigli in San Bonifacio (Verona); 6. Francesco&Salvatore Salvo in Chiaia, Naples; 7. Pizzeria La Notizia 94 in Naples; 8. Seu Pizza Illuminati in Rome; 9. Casa Vitiello in Caserta; 10. La Gatta Mangiona in Rome; 11. Pizzaria La Notizia 53 in Naples; 12. Renato Bosco Pizzeria in San Martino Buon Albergo (Verona).

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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