The best pizza in the world

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Billing itself “the experts’ guide to the best pizza places in the world”, Where to Eat Pizza features 1,705 pizzerias. Now its compiler, Daniel Young, has revealed the restaurant that received the most nominations from the guide’s 1,077 contributors: Pepe in Grani, Caiazzo, Campania.

Naples may be square one of the pizza world, writes Young, but Caiazzo, a hilltop town some 30 miles north, has emerged as its ground zero or rather its kilometre zero. As a proponent of the Kilometro Zero movement (KM0), Franco Pepe is a local hero, in every sense. He sources mostly from nearby producers. It is only people who travel great distances to Pepe in Grani, his stone-walled pizza palazzo.

Pizzaiolo Franco Pepe

Franco Pepe is passionate about using pizza to promote this part of Campania and the artisanal food producers with whom he works. He has even revived an ancient wheat not produced for 50 years for use in his handmade dough. Tomato sauce is made from heritage tomatoes; the oil comes from ancient groves a few kilometres away.

Franco Pepe is putting tomato sauce

His mastery covers the three stages of pizza preparation: the before (dough analysis, preparation and maturation), the during (shaping the dough, arranging toppings, cooking) and the after (finishing touches). From a growing list of pizzas on his menu comes the Pinsa conciata del ’500, topped with conciato romano cheese, fig preserve from the Cilento, basil, and lardo from Nero Casertano pigs; and Il Sole nel Piatto (sunshine on a plate) with buffalo mozzarella, tiny Piennolo del Vesuvio tomatoes, Cetara anchovies, basil, extra virgin olive oil and Caiazzo olives.

Preparing dough

Before baking

After baking

True pizza lovers who can’t bear to tear themselves away can stay the night in one of two stylish bedrooms – directly above the raising rooms, where the next day’s batch of dough will be gently rising to perfection.

Tasting delicious pizza

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