Forget Valentine’s Day, we’ve found a far more important day in February to worry about from now on, and it involves lots of pizza! Yes that’s right, National Pizza Day falls on the 9th of this month and personally we couldn’t be happier. With a never-ending option of toppings, and a wide variety of versions to consider, pizza is definitely a favourite foodie go-to for us in the dealchecker office. Here are some of the best we’ve come across so far…
Naples, we really have to thank you. For you have given us the most wonderful gift that anyone, or any place rather, could give, and that is the gift of pizza. Believed to be the birth place of this glorious baked delight, the Neapolitan pizza is characterised by its black, charred spotty base, along with a chewy, doughy texture. This results from its short time in that exceptionally hot wood-fire oven! Traditionally topped with San Marzano tomatoes, plenty of mozzarella and a scattering of freshly torn basil, this really is pizza simplicity at its very best.
Lombardi, which opened back in 1905, was the first pizzeria to open in New York. Since then pizza has boomed in the Big Apple, with pizzerias popping up here, there and everywhere. Thick and crisp around the crust, yet soft and delicate along the base, the New York hand-tossed pizza is designed to be thin enough to fold, but thick enough to hold all that delicious cheese. It’s definitely a foodie experience well worth having during your visit.
Over to Chicago next where the pizza here is extremely different, and very, very thick! Known as a deep-dish pizza and with more resemblance to a pie than a flatbread, this Chicago favourite is baked in a round, steel pan with the depth of a cake tin. Due to its longer cooking time the cheese is put onto the base first, normally followed by some pepperoni or sausage, and then topped with a generous spread of crushed tomatoes, to prevent any burning. This one is not for the faint-hearted!
The Hungarian lángos are definitely not for the health conscious – even by pizza standards. First your dough base is deep-fried until crispy, then you get to choose your toppings – with meat, sour cream, garlic and cheese all being popular. This pizza-like snack is commonly eaten as street food across Hungary, as well as some of its neighbouring countries like Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Roughly translated as meat and dough, Lahmacun is an absolute must for meat-eating pizza lovers when visiting Turkey. The flatbread is traditionally topped with minced lamb or beef, lots of tomatoes and onions, and a generous helping of ground spices, before being baked and served with a selection of fresh pickles and vegetables. Although there’s a bit of dispute as to whether this delicacy is in fact Armenian, rather than Turkish, one thing’s for sure – it’s pretty tasty.
Next we head to sunny Spain for a bite of the Coca pizza which is typically consumed in the eastern parts of the country. Potentially one of the lesser known snacks on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. There are many varieties of Coca, from open ones with a pastry base and closed ones resembling more of a pie, and all the way to sweet doughy versions – these are our favourites! Commonly topped with lots of sugar and citrusy flavours, you shouldn’t leave Spain without getting your hands on one.
Back to Italy, but this time we’re heading to the Eternal City where the famous Roman pizza Bianca resides. Translating to ‘white pizza’, it really is quite that simple. A thin dough base, topped with a drizzle of some good-quality olive oil, a scattering of coarse salt, and maybe some woody herbs. And that’s genuinely all this Italian classic needs. Some street food vendors may offer a little prosciutto wedged in between slices, and we certainly wouldn’t say no to that.
Forget about the sauerkraut and sausages, it’s time to try something a little different on that next German trip. Translated as ‘flame cake’, Flammkuchen is a crispy, smoky number that comes from the south of Germany, and also the Alsace region of France. Invented, back in the day, to test the temperatures of ovens, a little dough topped with some crème fraiche would be thrown in until blistering crispness occurred – that was when the oven was ready for some real baking. Little did they know that they’d already invented the true star of the show without even knowing.
Rectangular with a thick deep-dish crust is what a Detroit-style pizza is all about. You may ask how this differs to its Chicago town friend, well aside from the difference in shape, obviously. Well, let us tell you. The Detroit pizza claims to be extra thick, and extra crispy on the bottom, and is often brushed with melted butter prior to baking. Along with a twice-baked cooking technique, this results in a super crispy exterior with a chewy focaccia-like texture inside. Throw in some mushrooms and pepperoni and you’re the envy of every Detroiter – especially if you nab that oh-so-special corner slice.