As part of a show dedicated to the hotel and catering industry, more than 30 competitors competed for the title of French champion of Neapolitan pizza. It was the Bordeaux pizza maker Antonio de Fabbio who won. A Toulousain, Cédric Hervet, comes second and a Lotois, Nicolas Callot, 14th.
In Naples, we do not mess with the culinary tradition. All day Monday, March 21, 35 candidates from all over France were gathered at the Salon Smahrt 2022, which is being held at the Aussonne exhibition center (Meett) until Tuesday evening. Their goal for each: to win a title for the least original, that of French champion of Neapolitan pizza STG, third edition.
There were no less than six Haut-Garonne residents on the starting line. These candidates, each coming with their ingredients and dough pieces, had the choice of making a margherita (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salt and oil) or a marinara (tomatoes, olive oil, oregano and garlic). “I made the margherita because for me it’s the best of the best, assures Romain Mazzolini, a young pizza maker of Italian origin living in Cornebarrieu, near Toulouse. I decided to participate to prove to myself that I am able to achieve something and to manage my stress.”
“Getting out of your comfort zone”
Under a very large audience and the attentive gaze of a jury made up of three Italians, including the winner of the previous edition Yoann Mormile, it was indeed better to know how to manage one’s emotions to respect the strict protocol required to the letter. “This is the protocol of the Associazione verace pizza napoletana (AVPN), registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site”, adds Jean-Jacques Despaux, host of the event organized by the association of French pizzerias and the AVPN. . “It’s a very strict specification, with tomatoes not crushed but crushed by hand, a mozzarella di buffala or fior di latte, three leaves of fresh basil, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and basta!”
The temperature of the wood-fired oven had to be around 450°C and the pizza maker had to respect the maximum cooking time: 90 seconds, under the watchful eye of the jurors and their stopwatches. It was also necessary to use the technique of slapping (literally, slap) to work the dough and put it on the shovel. “I opened my pizzeria a year ago in the Gard and I went to train in Naples, explains Lucien, a candidate. Even if we do this every day, it’s not that easy to do it in front of everyone! You get out of your comfort zone.” The taste, the cooking but also the gestures were therefore studied.
A Toulouse man finishes second
In the end, it was a Bordelais, Antonio de Fabbio (La Tradizione pizzeria), who won the title of champion of France. Cédric Hervet from Toulouse, passionate about pizza but who doesn’t have a restaurant (yet?), becomes vice-champion of France. Eric Morieux, who runs the Squadra Napolitana pizzeria in Château-Landon in Seine-et-Marne, finished third. Toulouse’s Hamza Sahil, from Antica Pizzeria de Marengo, finished sixth. As for the Lot pizza maker (Les Gourmands pizzeria in Gramat), Nicolas Callot, he finished 14th.