Discovering a UNESCO treasure

If you’re looking for a national treasure on the Northern Gold Coast, you don’t have to go far to find it. True Neapolitan style pizza has entered your neighbourhood.

Napoli Zero81 Pizza Bar has opened in Southport, joining a clutch of eateries in the new precinct of Brooke Avenue, Chirn Park. Alongside the outstanding Meraki Kitchen and 5b2f Bakery, Quan 55 & Bar has sprung up on the top corner, with Charm Thai and Napoli Zero81 Pizza Bar on the western side. With plenty of parking in the area, for locals, this area’s an easy dining choice.

Napoli Zero81’s owner, Justin Palumbo, is already well known on the coast through his mobile pizzeria Wildfire Pizzas.  In his new restaurant, Napoli Zero81 Pizza Bar, named after Naples and its dial 081, all eyes are on the gorgeous wood-fired oven imported from Naples, its green mosaic marble gleaming, its open mouth flickering with flames.

From the oven emerges the main menu item: ‘Pizza Napoletana’ with crusts as airy as cushions, their toppings light and flavoursome.

And that’s where the ‘treasure’ comes in…

As Justin was opening his pizzeria in December 2017, UNESCO declared ‘pizzaiuolo’ (the art of making Neapoletan pizza) a national treasure, joining hundreds of other ‘intangible heritage’ treasures including culinary practices such as the Mediterranean diet, Turkish coffee, Croatian gingerbread making, French gastronomy, traditional Mexican cuisine, North Korean kimchi and washoku (a collective term for traditional Japanese food), all “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants”. (UNESCO)

The culmination of a campaign for recognition of its 250-year-old heritage, including a petition to UNESCO signed by more than 2 million Italians, it’s not the pizza that is recognized but the practice of making it: put simply, the practise of kneading the dough by hand, allowing it to rest, hand-stretching the bases, then baking the pizza in a woodfired oven for less than two minutes.

Joining several other pizzerias on the coast who make Neapolitan pizza, such as the accredited Double Zero in Broadbeach, now the northern Gold Coast can also discover this dish.

Start with the most famous pizza of all, the signature Margherita, named in honour of Queen Margherita and her love of a classic tomato, mozzarella and basil pizza. It’s a simple, elegant treasure.

Napoli Zero81 Pizza Bar, 58 Brooke Avenue, Southport Ph: 5636 8092

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NOTE: This article was published in The Sun on 27 February 2018.

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