Pizza wars: passionate words in Italy about the fair price of the dish

ROME, June 22 (Reuters)Pizza: high-end delicacy or affordable food for the people? That’s the question that pits Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore against chefs in Naples, where pizza-making is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A staple for Italians and a favorite around the world, pizza is traditionally made with simple ingredients, with restaurants in the southern city of Naples serving the classic Pizza Margherita for as little as 4 euros ($4.24 ).

Briatore challenged these low prices in his response to criticism of the prices charged at his Crazy Pizza restaurants, in London, Montecarlo, Riyadh and Italy, where a Spanish pizza with Pata Negra ham sells for 65 euros and customers are charged 49 euros for those covered with black truffle shavings.

“A pizza for 4 euros? What do these people put in pizzas? Briatore wrote on Instagram, calling cheap Neapolitan Margheritas “dough bricks with a tomato puddle.”

Chef Sergio Miccu, president of the Neapolitan pizzaiolo association, fired back, accusing Briatore of betraying pizza’s humble heritage. “Pizza has fed entire generations, overcoming (…) war and cholera,” he said in a statement.

In response to Briatore’s remarks, one of Italy’s most famous pizza makers, Gino Sorbillo, served free pizza outside his family restaurant in central Naples.

“(Briatore) says cheap pizza isn’t good? We make it like that, taste it and tell me how it is,” Sorbillo told RTL radio.

Proposing a truce, Sorbillo proposed that for one evening, the cooks of Briatore prepare their dishes side by side with Neapolitan chefs “to make his customers, accustomed to gourmet pizzas, taste a typical Neapolitan pizza, in a challenge healthy”.

($1 = 0.9442 euros)

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Frank Jack Daniel)

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