Fabio Nocera at Ippazzi in Noosa Junction with his classic pizza.
Fabio Nocera at Ippazzi in Noosa Junction with his classic pizza. Geoff Potter

Gourmet or traditional? How do you like your pizza?

THE pizza is entrenched in modern culture all around the world, especially in Australia. We are used to our pizzas topped with everything from pork belly to scallops, prawns and calamari.

Some pizza outlets even put a chicken curry on top of a pizza. Then there are chefs who sweeten things up with sugary toppings.

In his book, Pizza, celebrity chef Pete Evans has a rocky road and turkish delight pizza with pistachios and marshmallows.

The large pizza chains are always coming up with new ideas to attract customers - at the moment it is folding a hot dog into the pizza crust.

While variety is appreciated and keeps us going back for more pizza, many Italian chefs roll their eyes in horror at what the world has done to this basic, but beautiful, product that originated in Naples.

Sicilian chef Fabio Nocera tries to hide his dismay at some of the toppings he sees on Australian pizzas. He is a traditionalist who regards the pizza with reverence.

"I don't want to be impolite," he said. "But what would you say if I cooked you a juicy steak and then put ice cream on the top of it?

"The true pizza is about complicated simplicity. Everything starts from the materials, right back to the flour you use for the base.

"The base is underestimated. It is like good bread. You could eat it by itself.

"The basic topping is the best, like the margherita pizza, just a good tomato sauce, quality mozzarella, some basil and extra virgin oil."

Pizza devotees will agree that a margherita topping never goes wrong. Neither does the reliable Hawaiian pineapple and ham topping, or the Napolitana with pepperoni and mozzarella.

But as Australians used to fusion food and pizza menus that feature the classic, gourmet and deluxe versions, there is nothing wrong with mixing it up a little.

Chef Pete Evans spent a year researching and working in pizzerias to uncover the secrets of the best pizza.

He shares his research in his book and encourages us to experiment at home and make up our own toppings.

And the last word from Sicilian chef Fabio: "You must have a thin crust".

 

Adventurous toppings

  • Prawns with tomato and chilli
  • Pumpkin with gorgonzola, sage and pine nuts
  • Potato and rosemary
  • Hoisin duck with cashews
  • Prosciutto, prawns and chorizo
  • Smoked salmon and sour cream
  • Fresh figs with gorgonzola

How do you prefer your pizza?

This poll ended on 14 February 2013.

Current Results

Traditional

33%

Gourmet

20%

Both

46%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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