Ischia: The Thing About Pizza

Yes, please!
I don't know if you guys knew this, because I don't talk about it a whole lot, but I really enjoy pizza. It's sort of a passion. Or obsession. Maybe addiction. Either way, I like it.

The thing about pizza is that it's just so much better here than anywhere else. And I know. There are those people who always say, "Such-and-such it's better in France," or "So-and-so is better in America." I'm not one of those people. Pizza is not better in Italy. Not globally, at least.

Pizza is better in Naples and its surrounding commune. Ischia is no exception.

This little island has a few good pizza places, some better than others. It's still part of Naples. so they respect tradition. I go to my local restaurant, Francischiello, where I have been flagged as one of the only tourists in town this April. The main waiter, or maybe the owner, shakes my hand and gives me a bag of beignets with every take-out order I manage to accomplish. I feel that it's a reward for being able to say the word "friarielli" (or rapini) convincingly. The friarielli and sausage pizza is a speciality here. Make note!

Even with "healthy" things on it, pizza here is stellar...

He also doesn't judge me when I order two pizzas. One for dinner. One for breakfast/lunch the next day. He doesn't speak enough English to ask. I don't speak enough Italian to explain. We get along well.

His pizza is, by all measures, perfect. The crust, the cheese to sauce ratio, and the toppings are all to my liking and are absolutely on par with everything I ate in the city of Naples earlier this year. And when I can walk away with two pizzas for a ten euro bill, well, you see the dilemma.

My time in Italy is winding down (for now) and so I am ramping up my consumption. A pizza a day for the next week may be in order. Waistline, be warned. After that, it's cold turkey once I leave the country. I can't imagine the disappointment of having pizza anywhere else in the world, even if it's halfway decent.

Pizza elsewhere, well, it will be different, with its own delights and surprises, but I'm not really interested. It won't come with the Mediterranean air, the wafting scent of gardenia on the walk home, or the little fried extras that I have come to adore.

And perhaps more importantly, it won't come with the stress and anxiety of ordering a pizza in Italian, not sure of exactly what I would get. Therefore it won't come with the surprise and excitement  of opening up the box once home to find out what's inside. I'm ruined, I fear.