It has become common knowledge – to foodies, at least – that a super-hot, wood burning oven is one of the best places there is to bake a pizza. The smoke from the wood infuses a lot of flavor into both the pizza crust and its toppings, and the high heat gives it the perfect crispy texture. What type of wood delivers the best flavor varies depending on who you ask, but there is talk of a particularly unsavory type of wood being used in Naples, Italy: coffin wood.
Il Giornale, a daily Italian paper, has recently reported that local police in Napes “think many restaurant owners across the notoriously lawless port are purchasing cut-price wood from a gang of coffin thieves operating in the city” and using that wood to fire up pizza and bread ovens. The article went further to say that “Andrea Santoro, president of the city’s cemetery commission, said: ‘It’s no wonder these things are happening given the state of the cemeteries. There are graves uncovered, thefts and vandalism.’”
It’s a pretty shocking story, given how pizza is such an iconic food for Naples. No doubt that continued investigations will reveal more about what is going on, but for now, that wood-cooked flavor is definitely going to leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths!