Neapolitans were so thrilled with my post about pizza earlier this week that they declared a national holiday and filled the streets of the ancient city with delirious crowds of celebrants.
That’s not true, of course, although the streets of Napoli were indeed thronged with rejoicing multitudes, but what they were celebrating was the Napoli football (soccer) team’s first Series A championship in 33 years. And by all accounts, emotions were high and the fever was contagious in a city that is devoted to football even more than to pizza.
Be that as it may, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the pizza question in the last few weeks. While the excellence of Neapolitan pizza is without question, the universality of flat breads, whether baked in an oven, or on a griddle stone, or roasted on some form of clay or metal disk, is equally unassailable. All over Italy, all over the Mediterranean, I daresay all over the world, this simple form of quickly cooked bread is ubiquitous. Think of chapatis, think of tortillas, think of injera, just for instance.
Still, pizza is far and away the most popular flatbread around the world today, even in places where other kinds of bread are more traditional.