World-class pizza

SOUTH FREMANTLE’S L’Antica restaurant has stamped its authority as Perth’s go-to place for pizza after being invited by Perth’s Italian consul to join an international celebration of authentic Italian food.

Each year, Italian consuls throughout the world host the Week of Italian Food in the World, part of a broader program to protect the nation’s intellectual property from rip-off merchants.

On Thursday WA arts minister David Templeman, the head of the local Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade branch and a who’s who of business movers and shakers headed to L’Antica to try its Neapolitan pizzas and learn the art of stretching the finicky dough.

L’Antica owner Ashlley Walliss learned the art of the Neapolitan in Sorrento, Italy, and is so committed to its authenticity he only offers two versions on his menu; the margherita and marina. But tomato sauce already ran in his veins, as his family opened Northbridge’s first pizzeria decades ago when her recalls it being knowns as “that strange food”.

“It’s in the mix of the flours, but you also need a nonchalant attitude where you are kind of just slapping it together,” Mr Walliss says of the secret to his pizzas, which recently scored a place in Qantas’s in-flight magazine as one of Perth’s top-seven pizza destinations.

• L’Antica owner Ashlley Walliss celebrates the Neapolitan pizza. Photo by Steve Grant

Secret ingredients

There’s also the cherry tomato sauce, but he’s not giving up it’s secret ingredients that easily.

Mr Walliss says it’s an important year for the Neapolitan pizza, as there’s talk UNESCO is on the verge of recognising it as world heritage-listed dish.

He said it had been sad watching his family’s authentic pizzas get swamped by the mass-produced Pizza Hut and Dominoes as Perthies embraced it as part of the local cuisine, but he’s thrilled tastes have matured enough now that people are seeking out the authentic tastes.

by STEVE GRANT

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