Hello, my name is Kris Ball, I am 28 and until October 2015 I had never travelled abroad. I’m not the sort of person to have new years resolutions, but this year I did have an intention, that I would remedy that and finally visit another country.
It’s no secret that I bloody love pizza, it’s the perfect meal, I even love a frozen pizza from the supermarket (I had two in the past week!) so for my first trip abroad it had to be Italy, more specifically, Napoli, the home of pizza… in fact, we landed around 17.30 and I had a pizza from a simple place near our hotel in front of me by 19.00, I did not mess around.
On our first full day in the city we just wandered the streets of Napoli, dropping in on museums and cathedrals as we passed them, by midday we were growing hungry so I got out my iPhone, loaded up the TripAdvisor app where I’d downloaded the Napoli guide to and we followed directions to Da Michele!
Da Michele is world-famous, owing to this scene in “Eat, Pray, Love” and let me assure you, bigger jeans will be required after eating this famous pizza. Of course it’s legendary reputation isn’t just from Hollywood alone, nope, the pizza itself deserves a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame. The Condurro family have been making pizza since 1870 and that level of dedication to the worlds best food (pizza) shows!
If you’ve never been to Da Michele before, you’ll probably do what Sara and I did, and join the
queue cluster outside the pizzeria’s entrance for about 5 minutes until a local shopkeeper tells you to go up to the door and get a ticket and wait for that number to be called.
Da Michele has been mentioned in various guides over the years and the window at the door is full of stickers promoting this, there’s no room for any more! I got a ticket from the bloke at the door and strained to hear numbers called out. Waiting seemed like an eternity but in actual fact it was probably no more than 30 minutes. 30 very long slow minutes, watching people leave with full bellies or full pizza boxes and satisfied faces. Faces that know they have just eaten some of the best pizza they will ever have in their lives.
Eventually our number was called out and we were instructed to go through to a table that had just become free, still with the empty plates of the couple before us, this was soon cleared up and the table was given a quick spray and wipe down. Along with the plastic cups for our Peroni, this is, I suppose, part of the ramshackle charm of Da Michele.
I’m reminded of The Blues Brothers when I look back to the menu here, you can have both types of pizza, Pizza Margherita and Pizza Marinara. Pizza Margherita as we all know was created to honour the Queen Consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the red tomato sauce, white mozzarella and the green basil representing the colours of the Italian flag. Pizza Marinara on the other hand is pizza base, topped with tomato sauce, garlic and oregano. One other thing to note about the menu, JUST LOOK AT THOSE PRICES!! €4 for a whole pizza! At the time of writing that means one of those pizzas costs £2.92! Keep reading to see what amazing value for money that is!
What you find with Neapolitan pizza is that it’s soupy in the middle, and has a super thin crust. The toppings are sparse, but they don’t leave you wanting more. It’s just the right amount of cheese, just melted and oozing. The tomato sauce is the pure flavour of tomato with no adulteration.
The absolute revelation for me was the Pizza Marinara. It’s textbook simplicity, done perfectly. That deep rich tomato sauce, chunks of garlic to whack you around the face, and that mediterranean touch of oregano. I was dubious about pizza without cheese until I tried this. Now I know this is what I’d order if I ever visit Napoli again.
I’d like to also take a moment to appreciate the crust. It was springy, had such a fresh bread smell and look at the charring (known as leoparding) on the cornicione (that’s the outer part of the pizza, the whole base is the crust, the edge is the cornicione) which gave little pops of bitter chardness to keep your interest. I’m a complete carb fiend so I just completely loved the crust at Da Michele.
I was thankful we got to Da Michele when we did, because as we left the crowd had doubled in size (there was more behind me when I took this photo, waiting on the other side of the road) and I don’t think I would have waited more than 30 minutes without giving up and going elsewhere.
But that was before I’d eaten the pizza here. Now I’d walk to Napoli if I was promised free pizza for a week at Da Michele.
I’d walk through treacle.
Just to have that pizza again.