Anyone who has visited Naples in recent days and been in the right place on the right day – namely in the pizzeria “Gino e Toto Sorbillo” in the heart of the old town – could enjoy a free pizza. And perhaps the tastiest and most original that can be found in Naples: Gino Sorbillo is considered the best of the countless pizza olias in the city, and he is certainly the most famous.
The campaign with the free pizza, which other pizzerias had also joined, was the answer to an incredible provocation, at least that was how it felt in Naples – by Flavio Briatore.
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The former Formula 1 team boss and ex-partner of Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum announced this week that he would open a branch of his “Crazy Pizza” restaurant chain in Naples, of all places, the hometown of pizza.
In these jetset places, which already have branches on the Costa Smeralda, Monte Carlo, London, Rome and, more recently, Milan, the basic version, pizza margherita, costs 15 euros. Depending on the ingredients, the price list varies up to 65 euros. In Naples, on the other hand, you can get an original Margherita for as little as four to five euros.
“Pizza has always been a popular dish and should remain so”
Sorbillo accuses Briatore of making a pizza for the rich who disregard the soul, history and culture of the court. “Pizza has always been an international law and should remain so,” Sorbillo said during the free campaign. “It makes everyone happy and full and should remain affordable for everyone: for parents, children, workers, the unemployed, retirees. Everyone is just before pizza.”
Not least because of the product’s popular character, the craft of the Neapolitan pizzaioli was included in UNESCO’s inventory of intangible world heritage in 2017. According to a study, “pizza” is also the world’s most famous Italian word, ahead of “spaghetti”.
In fact, Briatore could have left the announcement of the opening of his “Crazy Pizza” store. But he did not do so in the face of the protest storm from Naples, on the contrary: he added much more. “Pizza has long been international, Naples has nothing to do with it anymore, and I like it from Salerno better,” explained the 72-year-old entrepreneur and cheerful.
Can Briatore give advice to the Neapolitans?
His pizza is “the best”, as his guests have confirmed. And: “If you sell a pizza for four euros, you can not make money. What kind of ingredients do you think they use? “
The claim that Napoli’s pizzaioli has put inferior ingredients on their pizzas has escalated the situation. The controversy over national law from the poor south spread throughout Italy. The Milanese “Corriere della Sera” was surprised that the northern Italian Briatore – he comes from Cuneo in Piedmont – feels encouraged to give Neapolitans advice on how to prepare a “proper” pizza.
“It is as if the Neapolitans are trying to teach the Piedmontese Nutella company Ferrero how to make a chocolate spread,” the newspaper wrote. And “Repubblica” from Rome calculated that a high-quality pizza margherita could well be made for four euros – the pure material costs amounted to a maximum of two euros.
The pizza dispute has long raged on social networks. Sometimes it is also reminded that the Briatores Club in Sardinia temporarily became Italy’s largest corona hotspot in the summer of 2020.
The Corona story did not help his popularity, nor did he make any new friends with his pizzeria plans in Naples. The following entry was found on Twitter at Briatores’ address: “The most important ingredient in Neapolitan pizzaioli is honesty. Something you do not have.”