Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Naples chefs slam over-priced pizza

From the Times Online, August 31, 2008 - Italy’s restaurant trade was accused of ripping off tourists last week in a mass protest by catering workers on the streets of Naples. Delighted tourists in the Piazza Dante were handed free margherita pizza as members of the Neapolitan Pizza Chefs’ Association (APN) served up thousands of pizzas as a protest against the rising cost of Italy’s most famous export.

“Consumers beware,” warned the APN president, Sergio Miccu. “A margherita pizza shouldn’t cost more than £2.80,” adding that the average cost of producing the quintessential Neapolitan dish is just 96p.

“In some cities I’ve seen margherita pizzas being sold for £8,” said the regional agriculture chief Francesco Borelli. “Considering the low cost of the raw materials, that’s real financial speculation.”

Public dissent against overcharging is increasing across Italy. Two weeks ago, an English tourist called police to a bar in Tusa, in Sicily, after being charged £28.95 for three sandwiches; and a German couple who recklessly ordered a lobster lunch at an outdoor table in St Mark’s Square, Venice, paid the restaurant £400 for the experience.

Two-tier pricing is another rip-off, with forestieri - foreigners - frequently paying one rate and locals paying another. “In many cities there are two or more distinct price lists,” explained Marco Donzelli of Codacons. “Residents pay one price, which increases slightly for Italian tourists and is decidedly steep for foreigners.”

To visit the home of the pizza margherita, invented for Queen Margherita, click Brandi Pizzeria.

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