Having long stood in the shadows of its more popular counterparts, Naples can be likened to Italy’s most unlikely masterpiece – and it’s most delicious. Neapolitan cuisine is as good as Italian fare gets, thanks to the holy trinity of sun, sea and soil. Think sun-ripened ingredients, bountiful seas and volcanic soil that enrich the finest vinos. When it comes to the flavours of Naples, we’re not talking gastronomic fare and multi-course tasting menus; the most celebrated eats are found on the streets.
The origins of pizza can be traced back to Naples, and the world’s first pizzeria is still in operation today. Bypass a seat in the no-frills 186-year-old dining room of Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba for a folded slice of portafoglio pizza to enjoy on the go as you savour the pillowy, slightly charred crust and simple toppings. But if the queues prove too long, you’ll find myriad street vendors dishing up this local speciality as a late breakfast treat, often for only one euro!
When it comes to Neapolitan street food staples, frittatine rivals that of the portafoglio pizza. Via Tribunali in the historic city centre is dotted with shops (also known as friggitorie) selling these deep-fried pasta balls stuffed with ground pork, béchamel and peas.
This other street staple isn’t just your usual cheese and bacon-type roll. The fluffy dough of the panino napoletano can only be attributed to the lard used in its cooking. Not for the calorie conscious, the panino is then stuffed with a rich medley of salami, cheese, boiled eggs and pepper.
Neapolitan fare is no stranger to deep-fried eats and those who love the simple pleasures of a Margherita pizza will love these plump rounds of fried pizza dough topped with passata, basil and sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
For those that want a taste of Naples in a cone, o-cuppetiello is the latest food trend. Cardboard cones are filled to the brim with a mix of classic street eats, including miniature arancini balls, Crocchè di Patate, crumbed mozzarella bites and pan-fried prawns and squid.
The simple tomato, mozzarella and basil topping of the Margherita pizza was created by chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi in honour of Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanni’s visit to Naples in 1889.