The Wood-Fired Blog

Press Release 061405

Jun 14, 2004Posted by Forno Bravo

June 14, 2004

Contact Information

James Bairey
39 333 175 0459 (Italy)
1 800 407 5119 (U.S.)

Thin Crust or Thick? Forno Bravo Helps End Debate on What is a True Neapolitan Pizza

Company Posts English Translation of Italian Government Specification for Vera Pizza Napoletana on Internet

Healdsburg, CA and San Gimignano, Italy — June 14, 2004. Forno Bravo, a California company that imports Italian wood fire ovens to the U.S., today announced that it has posted an English translation of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture’s Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) specification on its Internet site. The Italian government is requesting that the European Union recognize Pizza Napoletana as a Specialita Traditionale Garantita (STG), and has created a certification and branding program to protect true Neapolitan Pizza. Much like Chianti Classico, Mozzarella, Parmesan and certain types of Olive Oil, the Italian government is working to protect the product and the name Pizza Napoletana.

The certification process clearly outlines what it takes to make a true Pizza Napoletana, including ingredients, techniques and equipment. For example, the specification states that a pizza must have a 0.1″ thick base, (a little more than a credit card), must use fresh mozzarella, must be thrown by hand, must use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and must be cooked in a 900ºF wood fire oven for no more than 90 seconds. The Pizza Napoletana specification grew out of a meeting of the most venerated Neapolitan Pizzaioli (pizza makers), who compared notes, then reached an agreement on how to make the perfect pizza.

Restaurants that are certified to be Vera Pizza Napoletana compliant are allowed to display the VPN logo. A small number of U.S. restaurants are already VPN certified, including Niebaum-Copola in San Francisco, California.

“While it is tempting to poke fun at the fact that the Italians are so passionate about pizza that they created a specification for it, the Vera Pizza Napoletana movement is good for the average American consumer,” said James Bairey, a former Silicon Valley marketing executive living in Tuscany, and founder of Forno Bravo. “It shows the world what Italy and the Neapolitans think a real pizza should look and taste like. I think the VPN movement shows us that we should be expecting more from our restaurants. We have a strong desire to do things right in the U.S., and I think that includes food products. Look what we have accomplished with wine, beer and bread over the past decade, and think about what we can do with pizza.”

Brick ovens and pizza have been with mankind since the dawn of civilization. As the VPN proposal notes, evidence of pizza has been discovered in the excavations of virtually every ancient civilization. The brick ovens uncovered in Pompeii demonstrate sophisticated engineering, and with a little restoration, could start cooking again today.

“We want to see the brick oven as widely used in the U.S. as it is in Italy, where the wood fire oven rivals the BBQ in popularity,” continued Mr. Bairey. “The VPN specification makes it clear to both restaurateurs and hobbyists that you need a real wood fire oven to make great pizza. Our goal is to make it easy to own these authentic ovens.”

Forno Bravo sells ovens for both residential and restaurant use, and has created a family of ovens designed for the home user that make it practical and affordable to install a true wood fire oven in the kitchen or garden.

Practical Details

The translation can be found at, or by going to, and clicking on Vera Pizza Napoletana.

Forno Bravo’s prices start at about $2,000 for a typical oven; shipment is from Healdsburg, CA.

About Forno Bravo

Forno Bravo imports handcrafted Italian wood fire ovens to the U.S. The company has developed relationships with Italy’s leading producers and artisans who build these wonderful ovens, and has created innovative installation products that make it easy and affordable to own a wood fire oven. The company has offices in Tuscany, Italy, and Healdsburg, California, and can be found at


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