While a layman’s knowledge of pizza would only extend to cheese, Hawaiian, chicken, pepperoni – and basically anything topping related – what is Apizza? A real foodie might know that in the vast world of pizzas lies a delightful New Haven creation known as Apizza.
This is a type of pizza originating from the Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana of great culinary and historic importance. It has gained considerable popularity in other parts of Connecticut and places as far away as Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Texas, Michigan and even Japan! In the New Haven area, it is most notably being served in restaurants like Sally’s Apizza and Modern Apizza.
Tradition & Basics
In places like Sally’s the tradition of making these pizzas in coal to gain a blistered, sooty, and smoke-imbued flavor of the pies is still practiced, while others may have switched to oil fueled open brick flame oven. The main motive behind it, however, is to bake the pizzas in excessively hot temperature to produce a signature deeply charred crust; which is one of its many specialties. The nuanced flavor and chewy crust of the dough- which too makes the pizza-is a result of longer fermentation of the dough before shaping and baking it.
One of Apizza’s significant features is its limited use of melting cheese. In fact, mozzarella is considered to be a toping atop a “plain pizza” of crust, oregano, tomato sauce and a little bit of pecorino romano cheese sprinkled on. So unless one specifies “mootz” or “no mootz,” mozzarella will not be a part of your pizza. Apizzas are also hand-formed, so pies lack a uniform shape. The other indigenous New Haven pizza styles is the the white clam pie: Pepe’s invention that consists of crust, olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and fresh littleneck clams.
Apizza’s are closely related to New York Style Pizzas as they are both descendants of the original Neapolitan style. It has become a part of American food heritage through its distinct and unique flavor and style.