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Neapolitan Pizza Making Wins World Heritage Status

Neapolitan Pizza Making Wins World Heritage Status

Friday, 8 December, 2017 - 10:00
A staff member prepares pizza Margherita at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples, Italy December 6, 2017. Picture taken December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

The art of Neapolitan pizza making won world heritage status on Thursday, joining a horse-riding game from Iran and Dutch windmills on UNESCO’s culture list.

UNESCO accepted the art of Neapolitan “pizzaiuoli,” or pizza makers, on the world body’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“Congratulations #Italy!” it said in a tweet after a meeting in Jeju, South Korea where the decision was made.

Italy argued the practice of the “pizzaiuoli” - preparing and flipping the dough, topping it and baking it in a wood-fired oven - was part of the country’s cultural and gastronomic tradition.

It comes after some two million people joined a petition to support Naples' application, according to Sergio Miccu, head of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli — no doubt buoyed by his offer of complimentary pizza if the age-old culinary tradition joined the prestigious list.

The custom goes far beyond the pizzaiuolo's spectacular handling of the dough — hurling it into the air in order to "oxygenate" it — to include songs and stories that have turned pizza-making into a time-honored social ritual.

It is said that the Margherita pizza was created in 1889 by a local Neapolitan chef in honor of Queen Margherita, who was visiting the city — it has the red, white and green colors of the Italian flag.

The UNESCO list also includes Chogan, an Iranian horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling; the craft of millers operating windmills and watermills in the Netherlands; traditional boat making on the Indonesian island of South Sulawesi; and Nsima, a maize-based culinary tradition from the African country of Malawi.

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