The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (or, if you’d rather, the Real Neapolitan Pizza Association) has recently threatened McDonald’s with a lawsuit over an advert which depicts a boy choosing a Happy Meal over a delicious slice of pizza. But far greater crimes are being committed in the name of pizza every day, right across the world. If Neapolitans are feeling litigious, we should start to worry. Millions of us add preposterous toppings to pizza in the mistaken belief that it’s impossible to go wrong; that dough, mozzarella and tomato sauce form some kind of magic culinary glue that unifies and integrates everything that’s bunged on top. But it isn’t. It has been said that there’s “no such thing as a bad pizza”. This is not the case.
At the recent Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne, it was revealed that a nearby restaurant had created pizzas to commemorate the auspicious event. The pizza they named after David Cameron – a combo of ham, mushrooms, olives, onions, artichoke and chilli – is near enough to a capricciosa to be vaguely acceptable, but consider, if you will, the “Barack Obama”: ham, asparagus, tuna, pineapple, egg and prawns. It’s like the pizza equivalent of Pin The Tail On The Donkey, the consequences of a drunken, blindfolded prank in a restaurant kitchen. It’s tempting to ask what on earth they were thinking, but we know what they were thinking: Ham, asparagus, tuna, pineapple, egg and prawns.
Domino’s are currently running a competition called Pizza Legends, which involves visiting the website, creating a pizza with up to 9 “tastilicious” toppings and giving it a suitable name. If it ends up becoming the most popular, you apparently win free Domino’s Pizza for one year. I decided to create the most appalling pizza I could muster, which I imaginatively named The Aaaargggherita. It contains chilli, jalapeno, tuna, bacon, double anchovies, sunblush tomatoes, cumberland sausage, pineapple and sweetcorn, and it won’t be winning any competitions. The inclusion of anchovy and pineapple was crucial; a cursory Twitter search reveals that these two items are easily the most loathed pizza toppings, although the suggestions of “tears” gets a special commendation.
According to “smell and taste expert” Dr Alan Hirsch, your choice of pizza toppings says a lot about the person you are. Seafood means that you’re principled and intelligent, a fiorentina indicates that you’re loving and supporting, while chicken is the choice of the competitive, driven individual. This, as we know, is total codswallop, but one wonders what traits Alan would associate with cod and hard boiled eggs, which apparently occurs in Portugal. Punctual and fragrant? Inquisitive and ambidextrous? This article reveals a number of Europe’s dubious contributions to the art of topping a pizza, including canned fruit in Scandinavia, trout and pears in Estonia, cabbage in Ireland and fried breakfast in England. But further afield, we have such catastrophic misadventures as the Kit Kat pizza, introduced in Japan last year, while last week some year 9 kids in a New Jersey school came up with the idea of a mac & cheese stuff pretzel crust, which Pizza Hut, to their shame, indulged and subsequently delivered. Citizens of Naples, we apologise. Please do not sue us. The world cannot afford to pay you the enormous compensation you are due.
What’s the worst ever pizza topping you’ve encountered? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us here.
If you’d like to make your own (delicious) pizza, check out our best ever pizza recipes collection
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Anthony Falco, former pizza czar at NYC’s legendary pizza restaurant Roberta’s, and Yard Sale Pizza’s Nick Buckland in an extended interview on all things dough-based including how to start a business from your back yard and why it’s ok to break all the rules in the quest for perfection
olive magazine ep60 – pizza legends Anthony Falco and Nick Buckland on breaking all the rules