The True Neapolitan Pizza in Poland: an interview with Ewelina Przygocka, the director of AVPN School
After the summer break, the official training at AVPN School Poland in Poznan has started back. Today we are interviewing Dr. Ewelina Przygocka, the director of the school.
Over the last years, the interest in the True Neapolitan Pizza has greatly increased.
1) Can you tell us the reasons for this great interest?
In Poland, as well as all over the world, we have a lot of pizzerias that serve various types of pizza. Open borders, culinary programs on TV, traveling around the world make people more and more knowledgeable about food, learn about new dishes, new pizzas and new flavors, which they would later like to order in their cities, where they live every day.
I also saw a Neapolitan pizza for the first time during my trip - and here a bit unusual - to the USA to Los Angeles. And that was “love at first bite”. After returning from the USA, together with my husband, in 2014, we came to Naples for the AVPN course, where we met the president, Mr. Antonio Pace and the director, Mr. Stefano Auricchio, who also "infected" us with the passion for Neapolitan pizza and the tradition associated with it. Poles love Italian cuisine and pizza.
As my husband says, Neapolitan pizza is either loved or hated. Someone who tries a delicious, traditional Neapolitan pizza, well prepared with great ingredients, will probably fall in love with it immediately. People are looking for the Neapolitan pizza they ate in Naples, then at home, in places where they live every day - and this is happening now in Poland - Poles are falling in love with Neapolitan pizza more and more and want to eat it in Poland – in Warsaw, Krakow, Wrocław or Poznań.
2) What do you think will happen in the next years?
There is only one scenario. The number of new pizzerias with Neapolitan pizza in Poland will increase, and many currently operating pizzerias will also change the pizza they serve to Neapolitan pizza.
The technique of preparing Neapolitan pizza is not easy, it cannot be prepared without respecting tradition and passion, so more and more people will also look for places where they will not only be able to learn the technique of preparing Neapolitan pizza, but also the tradition related to Neapolitan pizza, the raw materials necessary for it preparations, ovens, machines and ... the passion of our AVPN instructors and thanks to the on-line connection they will be able to meet in person and talk to people who know the most about Neapolitan pizza, e.g. the president of AVPN, masters of Neapolitan pizza from AVPN.
3) What kind of course do you offer the students?
As of now, we are offering Basic Training Vera Pizza Napoletana. The training is very intensive, it lasts 5 days, 10 hours a day and ends with a theoretical and practical exam (on-line) in front of the commission at the AVPN headquarters in Naples. The training takes place once a month and up to 5 people participate in it.
4) What new elements did you introduce in your course after the summer break?
The course is conducted by AVPN instructors (senior pizzaiolo verace AVPN and pizzaiolo verace AVPN) in Poznań. One of our novelties, after the summer break, are classes also conducted online with the AVPN instructor from Naples. Our students join each day for an hour-long practical lesson with an instructor. Another novelty was the appearance of the first electric oven certified by AVPN – Scugnizzo Napoletano. In Poland, total bans on wood burning are introduced in large cities (e.g. in one of the large cities in Poland, after the introduction of a ban on the use of wood to fire ovens, one of the AVPN pizzerias preparing a Neapolitan pizza in a wooden oven had to reconstruct the oven and install a gas-burner in it). In addition to the bans on wood fire ovens in Poland, there are very few places with access to gas in large cities (which makes it impossible to connect a gas-fired Neapolitan pizza oven). Electric ovens for Neapolitan pizza are becoming more and more popular and are more and more often the only alternative to pizzerias that want to prepare Neapolitan pizza. Currently, in our school, we can conduct practical classes on all pizza ovens approved by AVPN (wood, gas, electricity).
5) What do you have in store to offer the students in the near future?
Due to the great interest in Neapolitan pizza also among amateurs, we want to introduce one-day courses to our offer, after the AVPN from Naples has been agreed. In addition, from next year we want to introduce other, professional courses to which we want to invite instructors from Naples, e.g. a gluten-free pizza preparation course. In addition, we are preparing the expansion of the AVPN school in Poland. The school will be expanded by additional rooms, where we plan to install additional pizza ovens, there will also be room for additional equipment, e.g. a pizzafrita fryer. We hope that the new premises will be put into use in the middle of next year (then the school's area in Poland will increase by 100%)
6) When are courses scheduled for the next months in Poznan?
As of today, 90% of trainings by the end of the year are booked. We are already accepting subscriptions for January 2021.