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Napoleonic Seal


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#1 Seand04

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 12:17 PM

I often see restaurants that pronounce themselves as having or carrying a “Napoleonic seal of approval”. Pizza Paradiso in Washington DC being one of them. How accurate a statement is this seal, and how often does a restaurant have to reapply or re-earn this seal, and what are the qualifying factors that go into obtaining the seal?
Thanks a lot, it has been great reading your posts this week.

Sean

#2 Peter Reinhart

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 01:21 PM

I often see restaurants that pronounce themselves as having or carrying a “Napoleonic seal of approval”.  Pizza Paradiso in Washington DC being one of them.  How accurate a statement is this seal, and how often does a restaurant have to reapply or re-earn this seal, and what are the qualifying factors that go into obtaining the seal? 
Thanks a lot, it has been great reading your posts this week.

Sean

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Hi Sean,
I don't know all the rubrics and how closely the DOC seal is monitored, but my sense is that this has been a better marketing idea more than a guarantee of great pizza. It does help in establishing that there is, in fact, a benchmark and standard to which pizzaioli should aspire, and it helps by establishing some decent criteria. Howwever, I think the establishment of "rules" is kind of a joke in that many of those who are certified break the rules as soon as they get their Vera Pizza Napoletana seal but, more importantly, the only rule that really matters in the end is the Flavor Rule (as I said in another post, flavor rules!). The very best pizzas I've had, even in Naples, were not DOC, and I think the trap for a DOC pizzaiolo is to think that he or she is now at the summit. The DOC rules are more like a springboard, as proven by people like Chris Bianco who makes a better Napoletana pizza than any DOC I've ever had, by bending the rules to work in his context, with his ingredients, in his environment. Whether its religion, politics, slow food, or pizza it's always dangerous to believe you have discovered THE holy grail, or THE blueprint for the only true pizza. This leads to elitism and arrogance and I've seen it undermine even the best of causes.

#3 achevres

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 08:07 AM

The "Napoleonic Seal" caught my eye... A French seal of approval for pizza? After reading the post I realize you are talking about the "Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana," from Napoli (Naples).

There is an interesting article about it here: Forbe's article on Pizza