In Italy, the very serious world pizza championships are back after two years of Covid-19

The World Pizza Championships began on Tuesday April 5 in Parma, a return after a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Italy, pizza is of course an institution. As proof, these few figures: 3 billion pizzas are consumed each year in the country, or 200 pizzas per second.

Nearly 800 candidates from around forty countries compete for three days, which is as many as three years ago. Italy is over-represented with 60% of pizza maker in competition. Immediately after comes France, then Spain and the United States. There are also Japanese, South Africans and Australians. And this year, the organizers want to highlight women even if they represent barely 5% of registered participants.

Candidates compete in several categories. First, the pizza classica. You can put whatever you want in it. What counts is the creativity between tradition and innovation. There is also the very serious Neapolitan pizza category STG for traditional specialty guaranteed, gluten-free pizza, pizza for two, the widest pizza, freestyle, a category where the pizza maker is noted for his dexterity in spinning his pizza dough to rhythm and music… And there is the fastest pizza. The 2019 champion made his own in 1’12”.

But beware: this is not a joke. This competition is taken very seriously in Italy to the point that during the last edition, the crowned champion in the Neapolitan pizza category was almost dismissed: he came from Friuli, northeast of Venice, and not from Naples. The Neapolitan who questioned this victory is a double world champion and international ambassador of Neapolitan pizza. He officially criticized the work of the judges because according to him, Friulian did not respect the specifications. He wasn’t wearing a hat or chef’s hat, he used too much olive oil when you have to pour it in with a spoon, plus it was in a plastic bottle and was not of controlled origin! But the Friuli champion did not let it go and he took the liberty of writing on Facebook that he had competed in the category in which “Obviously all the Neapolitans participate because they are convinced of being the best. There were 170 and I won. So for 20 years at least, bow to the world champion and shut up!” A provocative message that goes around Italy. In any case, he was not deprived of his title. We will see if this year, the Neapolitans will manage to recover the palm.

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