A Dublin pizzeria which opened in October has been officially certified by the Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) - the first restaurant ever to receive this certification in Ireland. This is pretty big news. To put this into perspective, there are only two restaurants in the whole of the UK that have been certified by the AVPN (we've eaten in one and it was all kinds of amazing).
Forno 500° opened last October in the site formerly occupied by Les Frères Jacques, next door to The Olympia Theatre. The Dame Street building with its signature French text was an icon of the Dublin restaurant scene, open for 28 years, and many in the trade were despondent to see a piece of history replaced first by a wine bar, and then 'another pizza place', so hopefully this news will cheer them.
The owners of Forno 500° are not messing around. They found a fourth generation Neapolitan oven maker and spent nine months convincing them to leave Naples to create the first authentic Neapolitan fixed oven in Ireland. Nine pallets of materials (weighing a tonne each) were shipped to Dublin, and the oven was constructed Italian brick by brick. It's packed together using mortar made from volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius, and workers were locked out when it was being built to protect the secrets handed down from generation to generation. If that's not enough to get you interested nothing is.
Getting certified from the Neapolitan Pizza Association is not for the faint-hearted. There are pages and pages of rules, from the flour to be used, to the exact cooking time, to the temperature of the tomatoes, which is why so few restaurants in the world are certified. Neapolitan pizza is characterised by a light, airy dough which blisters and chars in the 500° oven, and minimal, quality toppings.
When it came to the inspection, Forno 500° had to document all of their processes on video, before the Association flew to Dublin and turned up at the restaurant out of the blue to inspect the kitchens and procedures and taste the pizzas. There was much celebration when their accreditation was delivered last Thursday from Naples.
We think this is a such a big deal for Dublin, both for us who live here and for visiting tourists. If it's anything like the other Neapolitan certified restaurant we've eaten in we are very, very excited. We just hope they've got Lambrusco.
74 Dame Street, Dublin 2
Ph: 01 6794555