Prima Strada Now Serving Certified Neapolitan Pizza

left: the authentic Neapolitan pizza Marghareta, right, owner Geoffrey Dallas. images by Deddeda Stemler

September 27, 2011: Pizzeria Prima Strada is the first Vancouver Island restaurant to have their pizzas officially certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, which evaluates the authenticity of Neapolitan pizzas around the world.

Originating in Naples, Italy and celebrated around the world, Neapolitan pizza is a 300 year old tradition. Like other cultural traditions, those who practice the craft have developed a strict set of criteria to preserve what makes a Neapolitan pizza special.

“With two locations now open it was time to formalize our commitment to the tradition,” says owner Cristen DeCarolis Dallas. “Pizzeria Prima Strada has always adhered to the VPN guidelines. It is absolutely important to maintain the same level of authenticity at each location and certification is one way to demonstrate that.”

The application process included sending photos and videos of Pizzeria Prima Strada’s two locations, Bridge Street and Cook Street, for review in Naples and the VPN Americas offices. Each location must pass the certification process and is independently certified. Following the review of the application materials, Peppe Miele, President of VPN Americas, came to Victoria to inspect the two restaurants. Miele reviews all aspects of the pizza making: beginning with the making of the dough, to technique and the equipment used, including the required wood burning oven. The pizza must also meet specific criteria around look, feel, taste and smell.

Neapolitan pizza is recognized as a specific traditional regional specialty from Naples, like balsamic vinegar from Modena and prosciutto from Parma. Certification applies to two kinds of pizza: ‘Marinara’ (tomato, oil, oregano, and garlic) and ‘Margherita’ (tomato, oil, mozzarella di bufula or fior di latte and basil). The certification process examines every aspect of the pizza making process.

The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was established in June 1998 and is recognized as a denomination of control (DOC) by the Italian government. This gives the Association the ability to give special designation (VPN) to pizzerias meeting the strict requirements that respect the traditional art of Neapolitan pizza making.

“The association has very strict standards to ensure the pizza represents an authentic Neapolitan pizza. It regulates the ingredients, the process for making the dough, the type of oven and most importantly, the look, feel and taste of the finished pizza. There’s a specific aroma and flavour profile that is all part of the Neapolitan pizza tradition,” says DeCarolis Dallas. “For a pizza to be certified as VPN it has to be authentic in every way from look to taste to environment.”

Each Prima Strada location will receive a certification parchment from Italy with a unique membership number indicating their pizza is VPN certified and the pizzeria serves authentic Neapolitan pizza. For more about Pizzeria Prima Strada visit

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