1. In Guatemala, pizza is made on a volcano
Pacaya is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, located in Guatemala. Despite regular eruptions, it is a favorite destination for extreme climbers. This sport burns calories, so after climbing another mountain, you’re bound to crave a snack.
At least, that’s what Guatemalan chef Mario David García Mancillú thought.
Every day he climbs the mountain, wearing protective gear and heavy army boots to keep his soles from melting. He carries a backpack with 30 kilograms of ingredients and makes pizza on the volcano, which he sells to passers-by. He calls his improvised open-air restaurant Pizza Pacaya.
Mario has two ways to make pizza. The first is simply to put a tray on a frozen, but still red-hot patch of rock. And the second – to find a big enough bubble in the lava, where the temperature reaches 1 000 °. Such bubbles the chef calls “ovens,” and the pizza in them turns out especially tasty.
2. The area of the largest pizza in the world was almost 1,300 m²
For a long time, the Guinness Book record belonged to a pizza made in Rome in December 2012 with an area of 1,261.65 m². It was made by chef Dovilio Nardi of NIPfood. The pizza was named “Ottavia” after Emperor Octavian Augustus, and it was 100% gluten-free.
But just recently, that record was broken. A blogger from the U.S. under the nickname Airrack partnered with Pizza Hut to make a 1,299.71-square-meter pizza in the enormous hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. It took 6,193 pounds of dough, 2,244 pounds of sweet sauce, 3,992 pounds of cheese and 630,496 slices of pepperoni salami.
After the presentation, the pizza was cut into pieces and sent to Los Angeles charities.
3. Originally pizza was the food of the poor
In general, the spreading of different toppings on the dough began a long time ago. Examples abound: Chinese bing, naan from South Asia, Alsatian flammkuchen, French quiche and African ingera. What they all have in common is the idea that you can take food with your hands and replace the plate with dough.
The modern pizza appeared in Naples in XVI-XVII centuries, when the cooking began to use tomatoes brought by neighboring Spaniards from America. At first they were regarded with disbelief, but later they got used to them. The first versions of pizza were sweet, not spicy. And it was considered a street food for the poor.
4. Brooklyn sells pizza in a pizza box
Sean Berthiem was walking through his hometown of Williamsburg, Brooklyn one day and noticed that all the trash cans in his path were littered with pizza boxes. It’s not okay. What is Greta Tunberg looking at?
Bertiem didn’t like it, so he opened Vinnie’s Pizzeria, which sells its wares… in edible boxes. Yes, you got that right.
The package is covered with a special foil on top. You can’t eat it, unfortunately, but it takes up far less space in the trash than cardboard containers.
Bertiem thinks the pizza shell is an intermediate stage, and plans to do away with the box altogether when he figures out how to replace it. Generally speaking, this guy likes original ideas. For example, in 2015, he invented a pizza topped with smaller slices of smaller pizzas.
5. They sometimes put really weird things on pizza
No one is surprised by pineapples on pizza for a long time, but sometimes much stranger ingredients are put into this dish. For example, in the popular in Sweden Pizza Africana add bananas, onions, curry, peanuts and chicken. The latter can be replaced by more exotic meat typical of Africa, such as ostrich or buffalo.
However, there are more original dishes. For example, the Pizza Royale 007 recipe, which was created in Glasgow and sold for 4,200 dollars.
Its topping included black caviar soaked in Dom Perignon champagne, lobster marinated in 100-year-old Cognac, slices of venison, Scottish smoked salmon, premium quality prosciutto and vintage balsamic vinegar.
In addition, the pizza is sprinkled with gold leaf, apparently so the customer doesn’t have to ask, “What did I pay so much money for?”
Still not flashy enough for you? Well, here’s a pizza called Louis XIII for $12,000. It’s named after the cognac in which they marinate Norwegian lobsters and caviar for the toppings. The pizza is topped with seven kinds of cheese and 24-karat gold leaf. The dough is made with organic Arabian flour and sprinkled with Murray River pink salt. The dish is cooked for 72 hours.
And lastly, another recipe, this time simple but original. One restaurant in Ohio adds cicadas, blanched and oven-roasted, to its pizzas.
But be warned: The FDA doesn’t recommend eating them if you’re allergic to seafood. The fact is that cicadas have a similar chemical composition to shrimp – arthropods, after all.
By the way, the same Authority considers the presence of up to 15 fly eggs in tomato paste or pizza sauce “acceptable.” And yes, these guys have standards for how much mold, insect fragments, aphids, hair, and rodent feces can get into factory-made products and not cause a recall of the batch.