Prize-winning pizza maker Bruno DiFabio is like a scientist at work in the kitchen of his Old Greenwich pizzeria.
The self-described “pizza geek” selects a flat circle of dough made of sea salt, flour, water and fresh beer yeast and slaps it against the cutting board. He slaps and stretches it repeatedly until it is evenly thinned, then pours on a coat of red sauce laced with garlic. He adds cheese and basil leaves with precision. Then he slides the pie into a wood-fired oven.
When the bottom of the pie is spotted like a leopard, DiFabio removes it from the 900 degree heat.
“This is a perfect Napoletana pizza,” he says. “People that are not familiar with the style think they’re getting a burnt pizza, but the charring brings a lot of its flavor.”
This is the pie that earned DiFabio membership in the Vera Pizza Napoletana, the major league of Napoletana pizza making. This exclusive association was started in the 1980s by chefs in Naples, Italy who sought to distinguish those pizza makers around the world like DiFabio who adhere to the authentic Neapolitan tradition.
In 2012, some of those founding pizza makers crossed the Atlantic Ocean to visit DiFabio on Sound View Avenue at his restaurant ReNapoli. It was there that they bestow him with the honor. His is the 427th VPN membership and the only one in Connecticut.
“My pizza is the best,” DiFabio says, “And I will put my pizza up against any pizzeria in the world, that’s how confident I am that my pizza is the best.”
Read more about DiFabio here.