Friday, July 12, 2013
The pizza wars in Vancouver are heating up! Heating up like a Neapolitan wood fire oven! Craft breweries, food trucks, Thai restaurants...we are finally catching up to the foodie-friendly cities of SanFran and PDX. Like many friends and family, I have been making the rounds to Vancouver's best pizza joints and was excited to try Barbarella after hearing about it for several months. Like Farina and Nook, the menu at Barbarella is limited and emphasizes the ingredients placed upon the pizzeria's thin crusts.
When I think of Neapolitan pizza, two things automatically pop into my mind.
The first is a pizza I had in Milan from La Taverna on Via Francesco Anzani, a pizzeria run by a family from Naples. I had this with my sister during our Round-the-World trip in 2011 and it blew us away with its flavourful (and minimal) toppings, paper-thin crust, and uber fresh Roma tomato sauce. I hate this phrase, but it actually did "melt in our mouths".
The second is a Lonely Planet episode I saw when I was about 16 on Italy where the host went to one of the oldest pizzerias in the south. The chef - a cocky teen with a sneer and slicked hair - said that a true Neapolitan pizza must be super super thin and should really only be made with sauce, basil, and fresh mozzarella. The host was sceptical of this simplicity but took a few bites and proclaimed that the pizza he was eating was genuinely the best pie he had ever consumed.
Thus, in my mind, a Neapolitan pizza should be very thin, crisp, and PACKED with flavour!
I have high standards when it comes to thin crust fire oven pizza and was a bit disappointed in Barbarella. The portions were better than expected, and our group was fine with two pies for three people, but the crust was too chewy for me. We ordered the Cavolini and the Salsiccia. The combination of the Brussels sprout leaves and pancetta on the Cavolini was really great, but the chef added too many greens and the cabbage flavour overpowered the fior di latte and ham. The decor also bugged me. With its plain painted cinder block walls and careless placement of cheap tables, the interior of Barbarella reflects the food they serve...simple and satisfying, but a bit slapdash.
Keywords: "Vancouver pizza", "Pizzeria Farina", "Alex Dawkins"