Pizza is serious business across the United States, but possibly even more so in New York City where politicians and celebrities have come under fire for eating the quintessential local delicacy improperly.
But there are many different types of pizza, and many different ways of eating it. Anna and Riccardo Villani, owners of L’Arte della Pizza, which opened 2019 in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope serving Roman-style pizza, say that although eating pizza with your hands is a common practice, it’s not always the right thing to do according to galateo, or Italian social etiquette.
“It depends where you eat it. If you are eating a slice, like a to-go, in a casual environment, you can eat it with your hands,” Anna Villani said, interpreting for her Roman husband Riccardo while holding their four-month-old son Luca. “But according to galateo, if you’re in a formal setting you eat with a fork and knife.”
They also point out how to assess the quality of the crust while explaining the finer points of eating pizza with your hands, such as holding it by the edge of the crust.
Villani pointed out that that’s easier to do with Roman pizza than New York-style pizza, which is based on the style of Naples, Italy, and has a softer, floppier crust.
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