I'm Ordering Flash-Frozen Pizzas from Naples and You Should, Too
Support Italy while eating shockingly good, authentic Neapolitan pies.
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.
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.