Giulietta: a pizza derby

The pizzeria Cristina Bowerman opened in Rome offers a menu built on the Naples-Rome craveable dualism

The sign for Roman pizzeria Giulietta on the door

The sign for Roman pizzeria Giulietta on the door that leads to the kitchen, from which many of the fried products in the menu appear: scagliozze, mozzarella in carrozza, panzerotti, pasta frittata, zeppole and much more

Rome versus Naples.  We’re not speaking of football, of the two teams fighting for the first places in the Serie A, but of pizza. Pizzeria Giulietta opened a few months ago in the capital. It’s “Bowerman’s pizzeria”, as they call it in Rome, where you can eat both Roman-style pizza and the real Neapolitan one (with the consultancy of Neapolitan brothers Salvatore and Francesco Salvo from San Giorgio a Cremano, a famous family of pizzaioli for generations now). 

These are the differences between the two types: while the Roman one is large, thin (it is usually rolled out with a rolling pin), “scrocchiarella” [crunchy], with a crumbly and thin edge, the Neapolitan one is smaller, softer, with a large, bubbly and tender edge. Let’s see what happens on the marble counter at Giulietta where the two teams of pizzaioli work in front of two wood ovens, and see differences and similarities.

Neapolitan pizzaLuigi Palomba, Giovanni Lombardi and Marco Abate are the three Neapolitan pizzaioli, pupils of the Salvo brothers, who continue the philosophy of their pizzeria of origin, from dough to the selection of ingredients of the highest quality for the topping.

The dough is made with a kneading machine with a “diving arm” as it doesn’t overheat and favours a greater oxygenation of the dough. This is made with a blend of 0 and 00 flour, very little brewer’s yeast, with a 64-65% hydration, and it’s left to mature for 24 hours at 24°C (constantly) of which 18 in one piece and the last 8 divided into 8 balls weighing 300/310 gr.

They light the fire in the oven a few hours before opening, and they use dried beech, so that the flames are naked, as per tradition, at a constant temperature of 450/480°C. Given the high temperature, the pizza is cooked in just 60-90 seconds and they only put two or three per time in the oven. The extra virgin olive oil is not added to the dough but during the cooking and after the cooking (four different types depending on the pizza). The pizza is a “real Neapolitan” one, with a large but not excessive edge, fine air bubbles and soft.

Comparing Margherite

Comparing Margherite

Roman pizzaNicolas Caterina and Salvatore Andretta are the two pizzaioli that run the Roman pizza station. The dough in this case is made in a rotating tank with a spiral using type 2 flour, to make it crispy, on top of water, yeast and extra virgin olive oil. 60% hydration for 48 hours of leavening at a controlled temperature of 10°C in balls of 230 g. – before being moved into the fridge, the dough rests for 40 minutes.  

For the oven they use hornbeam wood, the temperature is 430/450°C and the pizzas, up to 4/5 per time, are baked for at least 2 minutes and only when there are embers. In this case the oil is added before baking only for “white” pizzas and never for those with tomato sauce, and in both cases to finish after cooking. Buffalo milk mozzarella is never used for Roman pizza. This pizza is not the traditional one, large and very thin, because it is not rolled out with a rolling pin, but it has a remarkable crunchiness and a rather thin bread that is finely matched with the ingredients used for the topping.

Giulietta offers a rich menu, divided between Rome and Naples, where each town has its fried food – courgette flowers, supplì, mozzarella in carrozza and panzerotti for Rome; pasta frittata, crocchè, zeppole and scagliozzi for Napoli – the former fried in sunflower seed oil at 180°C, the latter at 200°C. There are 11 Roman Pizzas, and 11 Neapolitan ones, of which only 3 are in common – Marinara, Margherita and Capricciosa – though some differences still remain.

The two Marinare

The two Marinare

Putting them next to one another, they’re clearly different: the former thin and large, the latter thick and with a significant but not too thick edge. They also differ on the palate. Let’s see the three classics in detail. 

Marinara (or Napoletana). The ingredients are different, and this already gives a different personality to the two pizzas, even in their almost basic essence: while the Roman one has crispy fried garlic chips (a touch given by chef Bowerman) with peeled tomatoes and oregano, in the Neapolitan one there’s a larger part of cherry tomatoes from Corbara and the garlic is fresh – you can tell! – with oregano and extra virgin olive oil. We particularly appreciated the choice of the garlic chips, which soften the strong flavour and give a very pleasant crispy note on the palate.

Margherita. The queen of pizzas has two versions in the Napoli menu, Classica and Vesuvio. Excellent tomatoes, San Marzano for the former, and Piennolo for the latter. It gathers on the tip of the slice, enhancing the softness of the bread. Mozzarella fior di latte for the Classica and buffalo milk mozzarella for the Vesuvio, generously added, and completed with olive oil after baking to give extra personality. Irresistible. The Roman one – San Marzano tomato PDO, fior di latte and extra virgin olive oil – is crispy and good, but it’s not as good as the “competitors” which better enhance the products of Campania.

The two Capricciose

The two Capricciose

Capricciosa. So close, so far. Let’s start with the Roman one, in which the touch of the chef is clear and successful: fiordilatte, baked ham, pan-fried chanterelle mushrooms, artichokes “alla cafona”, taggiasche olives and a sunny side up quail egg added when baking. Lovely and with a magical gourmet touch. Classical and strong flavours for the Neapolitan one – San Marzano tomatoes, artichokes, fiordilatte, Neapolitan salami olives and anchovies – well spread and balanced following Neapolitan tradition. This match, were it to last 90 minutes with 22 players, would still end on a 1-1. 

So who wins, Roman or Neapolitan style? It’s hard to say, but pizza, if good, has neither borders nor owners and let’s hope that, contrary to football, we can always unite and not divide. After all, the most famous street food in the world is mostly a matter of sharing.


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