Support Italy while eating shockingly good, authentic Neapolitan pies.

By Maria Yagoda
April 14, 2020
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Quarantine cooking is a mixed bag, especially when you live alone. Some days, when I'm feeling motivated, I prepare elaborate stews, pastas, and roasts, the leftovers of which I squirrel away in my freezer, where they are lost forever. Other days, when the idea of putting on pants is too much to bear, I eat peanut butter from the jar and pop a handful of vitamin gummy bears, blasting Marvel movies to craft the illusion of human company.

Fortunately, there's been a recent disruption to my depressing mealtime rituals: I just discovered the perfect convenience food that is, somehow, also my favorite food on the planet: Neapolitan pizza, flash-frozen and delivered from Naples to my Brooklyn home.

The Naples-based company Talia di Napoli is selling pies called "sleeping pizzas" that are handmade by pizzaioli using traditional methods. Then they get flash-frozen and shipped from Italy all around the world. You would think that such a service would be wildly expensive, or that the pizzas would be poor approximations of the real thing, but I was blown away by the taste and texture of the five near-perfect pies I received, as a gift from my mother, which only cost a total of $67, shipping included.

As someone who used to live in Naples and would eat two to three whole pies a day, I am an obnoxiously discerning eater of Neapolitan pizza. Aside from a slight difference in crust texture—I imagine the pizzas lose some of their fluffiness in the freezing process—the flavors of the "sleeping pizzas" were near-replicas of a fresh pie. The combination of Pompeii-grown tomatoes, fruity olive oil, 24-hour-risen dough, and mozzarella made from the cows of Vesuvio transported me right back the pizzerias of my neighborhood in the city's crumbling Spanish Quarter.

Credit: Talia di Napoli

There are many different packages—even gluten-free options!—listed on the website. I started with the $67 five-pack, which offers a nice variety (two margherita, one primavera, one mozzarella, and one broccoli rabe). As Italy continues to endure economic devastation from the coronavirus pandemic, Talia di Napoli is a wonderful way to throw some money across the Atlantic, if you can.