We Found the Best Pizza in the World in Italy
Just 1 hour outside of Naples you will find the best pizza in the entire world. Finally, I got the chance to visit and I’m excited to share my experience with you.
Franco Pepe – king of all pizza chefs invited and welcomed myself, Vincenzo’s Plate and Gigio Attanasio into his pizzeria to learn about his top pizza tips, his famous dough and the mind-blowing science behind the toppings that he uses.
Pepe in Grani, Pizzeria – Caiazzo, Caserta
Franco Pepe and his pizza bring people from all over the world to Caiazzo – a town quite frankly in the middle of (beautiful) nowhere one hour outside of Naples. Droves of people make this a mandatory stop to eat because of Franco Pepe. Celebrities, renowned foodies, simply everyone who hears of him can be easily convinced to make the journey and come here just for his incredibly special pizzas.
You’ll find his pizzeria in the heart of historic downtown Caiazzo which is a lovely little town far from the busiest cities in the province of Caserta. It sits inside an old building from the 1700s which has been completely renovated in a modern looking style yet still respects the original eighteenth-century
With a few different seating arrangements to choose from, the Veranda of Pepe in Grani offers an ideal space to spend your summer evenings savoring everything gourmet while enjoying the fresh air of the warm season, sheltered by a new modern structure.
To taste one of these magical pizzas while admiring the sun setting over the beautiful valleys of Caiazz or diving in the romantic moonlight, the “Belvedere” room is the ideal location for a delightful evening with friends or a romantic rendezvous.
The internal garden of Pepe in Grani is considered a sacred place of Franco Pepe for his moments of relaxation, reflection and creation. Access is reserved only for adults and is available only in summer and depending on weather conditions. If you can score a reservation here, you won’t be disappointed.
No matter the location inside the pizzeria, they are all deliver a true gourmet immersion within a uniqu “enogastronomic experience” involving every one of your senses.
The Dough of the Best Pizza in the World
Starting with the dough, we watched as it was prepped by hand and left to perfectly rest prior to becoming one of Franco’s signature pizzas. The weights vary as each kind of pizza requires a different weight of dough to perfectly balance the toppings including proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Nutritional intake is very important to Franco and one of the foundational pillars he stands behind so from start to finish with each pizza, he’s very careful about this aspect.
The flour gives identity to the dough. Franco uses a custom blend calling it O Pepe. This isn’t a market staple that Franco can source on its own so he personally oversees the blend making sure, despite quality flour availability, it always is made with 3 different nutritional grains. The continuity in quality is always found in his dough, no matter the lour type. A key part of what sets Franco apart and on A-list celebrity stops, is that he works with a technologist regularly to make sure the choices of grain are always the very best and keep a balanced blend despite market changes. No matter what, it always keeps the
signature Franco Pepe quality.
Traditional VS Modern
A balance is important to Franco, while not considering himself a traditionalist or modernist, the know-how of kneading remains in the hands.
Kneading will always be done by hand to keep the tradition but it’s also done because if that phase is skipped, removing the touch, sight, and smell removes such an integral part of the process. If you are not able to interpret the dough through those senses, you lose so much.
A real pizza recipe is not static, it can vary which is why the senses play such a critical part when it comes to the raw materials. Franco says, “You must listen with touch.”
Franco challenged me to these words to test my pizza making skills. To see how I did, watch it here. Hint… It’s either the best or worst pizza I’ve made in my entire life and I’m either banned for life or given a years’ worth pizza pass. You’ll want to watch it!
Franco Pepe Pizza Toppings VS Dough
It’s not easy being the best pizza in the world. To many, they might think this means it is all about the toppings. Afterall, it is pizza. But to Franco, the toppings are secondary. The flour is what gives identity to the dough and is the most crucial part. Visibly seeing the grains is an essential from a nutritional point of view.
However, Franco is well aware of the pressure put onto the toppings by today’s pizza culture and takes this into account with every pizza creation.
For this, he has employees there whose job is solely toppings. So if you’re questioning whether or not he takes this seriously, it’s 100% yes, and there is a complete science behind it all too.
Experiencing the Best Pizza in the World
Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. The dough is nothing less than perfect. Locally grown fresh tomatoes differentiate themselves on the hot mozzarella, served fast to maintain the contrast of ingredients, flavors and temperatures. The mozzarella is completely unique and the basil and oil blend finishes the bite with a delicate touch.
If you have room for more, you’ll not want to miss the opportunity to try Franco’s fried pizzas as they’re unlike any other we’ve found yet. Instead of anything heavy or seemingly indigestible, it’s a completely evolved version.
Through skillfully worked dough and toppings perfected layer by layer, it provides a completely new experience through light, tasty, spiciness and freshness that’s bursting with incredible contrast and flavor.
I’ts all smiles bite after bite and truly topping science mastered.
As a final surprise, in one of Franco’s pizzas we ran into a something completely controversial as a topping and you won’t want to miss what we thought. Find out what it was and watch what happened here.
Try the Best Pizza in the World
Franco has truly put his identity on his creations at Pepe in Grani, Pizzeria. You have to try them to understand. You will fall in love with the creations and when in Italy, making this a regular stop.
Watch our full tour here and if you get the chance to visit, let me know what you think!
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