Today, seven Seattle pizzerias (including the Tutta Bellas, the Via Tribunalis, Pizzeria Pulcinella, and Ristorante Picolinos) are about to become certifiably delicious by the magic wand of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. That’s a troop of pizzaphiles from Naples who claim the final word on pizza authenticity—and have the trademark to prove it.

But who are they? Turns out the AVPN is a fraternity of Neapolitan pizzerias, complete with sign-up fees of $700 for participating restaurants, and annual costs to remain in the club, provided your pizza hews to the Italian standard. When the AVNP visited NYC in 2002, New Yorkers (who argue that their pizza is actually the standard of the great American snack) didn’t buy it. Forbes.com reported that only one New York pizzeria actually forked over the dough to join the organization.

So they’re giving Seattle a shot, having roped Mayor Nickels and State Senator Ed Murray in on the action, with welcoming ceremonies at the Space Needle this morning and official mayoral proclamation of this as VPN week.

And tonight: The Big Night for Abruzzo fundraiser, in which more than 45 participating restaurants will donate a portion of their sales to victims of the L’Aquila earthquake that devastated central Italy earlier this spring.

Go feel good about devouring pasta and pizza (certified and otherwise) at a bunch of participating restaurants, including Il Terrazzo Carmine, La Rustica, La Vita e Bella, The Pink Door, and dozens more.

—Karen Quinn

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