Oven supplier tells operators to rein in false pizza claims

One of a team of professional neapolitan pizza makers kneads dough to give away free pizza margheritas in Dante square in downtown Naples, on August 27, 2008.  Pizza chefs in Naples gave away more than 5,000 free pizzas to protest against restaurants that have "unfairly" hiked up the cost of a pizza amid rising global food prices. Sergio Miccu, president of the association of Neapolitan pizza chefs (ANP), accused restaurants and pizza chefs of increasing pizza prices to a level that is not justified by the cost of the basic ingredients.  AFP PHOTO / Roberto Salomone (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SALOMONE/AFP/Getty Images)

A catering equipment supplier has warned pizza oven chefs not to make ‘True Neapolitan Pizza’ claims unless they have an oven certified by the fastidious Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN).

Preston-based Orchard Ovens, the sole importer of Valoriani pizza ovens from Tuscany, says it has noticed some eateries claiming to serve Neapolitan pizza, despite having gas-fired ovens that cannot endorse this assertion.

The Naples-based AVPN, founded in 1984 to promote and protect true Neapolitan pizza worldwide, is the organisation which exercises stringent regulation over Neapolitan pizza and received an official DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status in September 1997.

Earlier this year, it showed its power by taking global fast food chain McDonald’s to task over an advert showing a child rejecting pizza for a Happy Meal.

Valoriani achieved certification from the organisation after proving that its Verace gas oven was capable of cooking true and authentic Neapolitan pizza. The oven was rigorously tested throughout this period, ensuring the taste it delivered would have the distinctive characteristics associated with the Neapolitan pizza trademark.

Diehards in the organisation were against endorsing a gas oven, but blindfolded taste tests were able to convince them, according to the brand.

It now claims to be the only manufacturer with a gas-fired pizza oven certified by the AVPN as being capable of cooking authentic Neapolitan pizza.

Orchard therefore insists that having this oven in the kitchen can allow a restaurant to offer ‘Neapolitan Pizza’ without any qualms of the AVPN disputing the veracity of this claim.

Orchard Ovens’ spokesperson, Andrew Manciocchi, said: “The AVPN has shown that it has teeth and is determined to protect Neapolitan pizza as a trademark. No chef should consider making a claim to serve Neapolitan pizza, if they are using an oven that can’t back that up.”

The Verace was able to overcome doubters at the AVPN due to its unique Re-cycling Heating System (RHS). The patented system works in harmony with Valoriani’s special ‘cotto’ clay, to assist heat recovery and optimise the cooking process.

Recovered heat flows at a high temperature, both under the oven floor and inside the oven, keeping the floor temperature uniform and steady, even in parts not near to the heat source.

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