Pizza, the darling of the street food world, is more than just a snack to grab on the go, or a easy Thursday night take out meal. These days, this delicious Italian treat can be dressed up or down as much as you like, and gourmet pizza is just as at home as dessert pizza, although the latter will take a little getting used to, especially for the purists.
Originating in the magnificent historic Italian town of Naples, pizza started life as a royal delight. It is said that Queen Margherita, wife of Umberto I, was bowled over by its delicious flavour combinations, traditionally tomato, mozzarella and basil, which also happen to be the colours of the Italian flag, red, white and green. But it doesn’t end there; toppings can vary wildly, and in modern times often do. We even have our very own version here in the Lowveld, the Slowveld pizza, which boasts biltong as an ingredient.
To start with, a flattened bread disc is slathered with a tomato sauce base, which is then covered in a combination of herbs, veggies and
cheese. Chopped and diced, onion, mushroom, olives, peppers, chillies, bacon, salami, pastrami, chicken, tomato, artichokes and even
aubergine are added, with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, and the pizza is then baked in a wood-fi red oven at very high temperatures.
The base can be thick or thin, and must be crusty and crisp on the outside, soft and chewy inside. Another option is the delicious and much-loved focaccia, which is similar but instead of cheese and toppings, contains a scattering of herbs, chopped garlic and a good glug of olive oil.