What do ‘00’ flour and San Marzano tomatoes have in common?
Well, if you are not a pizza aficionado, they are the key ingredients that Char uses to make its delicious Napoletana-styled pizzas and both are imported directly from Italy.
So why are a certain type of flour or tomatoes so important they need to come straight from Italy? A candid conversation with restaurant owner and Italy native, Tommasina Mamola, followed with a taste test of these delicious pizzas educated us:
‘00’ flour is considered the finest grade of flour milled in Italy. Essentially, this means it requires much less water. The fresh yeast used in Tommasina’s mouthwatering pizzas is what creates the large and interesting chewy bubbles often produced inside the crispy on the outside crust.
“The key in using the flour that we do is important with such a high heat oven,” says Tommasina. The flour’s quality is apparent in every bite.
Authentic San Marzano tomatoes are grown in small amounts surrounding Naples. The fresh tomatoes are produced alongside Mt. Vesuvius. It is said that there is something special about the lava in the dirt that they are grown near. These authentic tomatoes are an important staple for many chefs not only because of their sweet taste and low acidity, but also because of their firm pulp, which results in a creamy thick sauce.
Because of the cost and the demand, there are many attempts at “knock-offs” with the San Marzano tomatoes. In Europe it is illegal to mislabel these coveted fruits and Italian police often seize the fake stuff.
The next time you think a pizza is just a pizza: that might be true. Unless it is prepared at Char.