Guest Bloggers
Tomato Pie, Rocky Ford, and Me, Part 3
Bob Radcliffe


Let’s talk tomatoes:
Like Mikey in the old cereal TV commercial, here in the South, when it comes to tomatoes it’s often a pleading, “Try it, you’ll like it.”  That’s because down South, leafy greens and butter beans take center stage, leaving tomatoes relegated to salads and canned spaghetti sauce.  I first had to decide which tomatoes to buy. Heck, why would you buy them, when you can grow them -– right?  I’m sure most of you aren’t looking to hold a tomato taste test, but that’s what I did.

In 2004, I ordered 18 different plum and paste tomato varieties of seed, with enticing names like Cour di Bue, Costuluto Fiorentino, Opalka, Polish Linguisa and Viva Italia. Can’t you just taste those beauties? I planted the seeds, transplanted and secretly labeled the rows and, about three months later, sand-bagged Nick Thomas, a food writer at the time for the Raleigh News and Observer, into a blind taste testing of the lot by promising him exclusive rights to the story. I also arranged to take several baskets to a local Italian restaurant (since closed) to make tomato sauce.

Well, what do you think happened?  Nick concluded that San Marzano’s were the best. Yet, although he loved those varietals, the restaurateur found it was too much trouble to cook them down.

Subsequently, I experimented by growing different strains of San Marzano’s, but just wasn’t happy with the taste. I grew them outdoors; I grew them in a greenhouse; I tried different organic approaches with fertilizers and irrigation schemes for watering. Forgive me, again, but I cussed a lot – thankfully, no one was nearby (well maybe Kerry, my wife).

I can grow tomatoes, but the soil and climate here just isn’t their favorite. Then I realized, “Wouldn’t an agricultural state like North Carolina be growing tomatoes instead of tobacco, cotton, soy beans, wheat, sweet potatoes and collards if it could?”  Dah!

Alas, I finally understood what terroir meant. It certainly has nothing to do with North Carolina being an English Colony instead of a French one. Terroir is the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology, and climate of a certain place, interacting with plant genetics, express in agricultural products. Wine connoisseurs know it permeates the grapes. It’s simple: Italian tomatoes have terroir, and my Rocky Ford tomatoes do not! Italy’s San Marzano tomatoes simply taste better!

It’s embarrassing for me to admit how much time and effort I wasted trying to grow this crucial ingredient for my Tomato Pie.  What had seemed like a sensible idea was,in fact, a big bust! But you only learn from your mistakes. Chef Sean Brock on the “Taste of a Chef” would have been proud of me, but I can see the tears of laughter coming down his face, and hear him howling as he reaches for another brew. Always use the food ingredients that taste the best. 

So, we now buy imported San Marzano Tomatoes from Italy by the case each month, from Philadelphia of course, when Kerry travels there for work. The Rosa brand we use are imported into Philadelphia and Baltimore, while the Cento brand is available in Camden, N.J., just over the Ben Franklin Bridge. They are always intrigued when Kerry arrives at the warehouse as their only North Carolina customer yet who always gets their “best” cash discount price (of course). By the way, I also have to admit that these imported tomatoes cost less to buy than if I were to grow them. (Wow, will I be happy to finish telling you my tomato story.)

Each can is opened, the fruits individually cleaned and broken into pieces, and then adjusted with sugar (if need be). Every can tastes different – I adjust each can separately and then combine the tomatoes together. Handling and cleaning each fruit is usually deemed unnecessary by everyone else. Yet I always do this! (Maybe it’s just the training I received at Jack’s Firehouse, the many hours I spent picking crab, cleaning squid, and de-boning salmon.) No other spices or seasoning are added; no salt or pepper nor any olive oil. I like to prepare my tomatoes a day ahead and refrigerate them overnight. They simply taste better this way. “Last-minute” tomatoes just lack the flavor I want. I always return the tomatoes to room temperature before using them.

Yes, this is a Tomato Pie: it’s all about the bread and the tomatoes. The care I take with the tomatoes seems in keeping with their overall importance. What do you think?

Now, let’s talk about cheese. I was going to discuss cheese later, but after my tomato-growing debacle, I decided to continue my confessional and get my embarrassing stuff out of the way. Does this introduction sound familiar? Heck, why would you buy cheese when you can make it – right? Try to contain your laughter, as it can become contagious.

Before setting out to make cheese, I had to decide exactly what type of cheese I would use. Obviously mozzarella, but low-fat, skim, part-skim, whole milk or what? After cooking pies with them all, I found that whole milk was the only one that did not separate on the pie. Hands down, always buy whole milk mozzarella! I have made pies with both fresh cow's milk and buffalo mozzarella but the cost and softness usually rule them out for me because I am typically making about 40 pies at a BreadWorks Event. For a small family affair, though, cost is not a factor.  Since I always slice my cheese and never grate it, I buy 1-pound blocks, the firmer the better. I always keep it refrigerated and cut it while it's cold into thin (less than 1/8”) slices. I usually find that I can prepare about 5 pies per package.

I want you to know, though, that it really is easy to make your own mozzarella cheese. For a modest investment of $25, you can buy a kit that includes a dairy thermometer, muslin, citric acid, vegetable rennet tablets and cheese salt – and you are ready to go. (I like to shop online at the New England Cheese making Supply Company

A gallon of milk will make about a pound of mozzarella. The big problem is finding and buying good whole milk. I own beef, not dairy cattle, so no advantage there. I am not about to get a dairy cow and have one more thing I have to do every day (milk the cow). The sale of raw, unprocessed milk is illegal in most states. Folks get around this by owning a share of a milk cow, and therefore technically are not selling the milk, but own it.

When I was a kid, we still had milk delivered in glass jugs to a milk box on our side porch. The jugs were sealed with a paper disk. When it was below freezing outside, the cream would rise to the top and push the lid off. When it was spring you could taste the field “onions” the cows were eating in the milk. The milk was rich (high butter fat content) and the kind that you wish you could find today to make cheese – but good luck! Buy the least homogenized and pasteurized milk you can find; it works better for cheese making.

Actually, I was quite successful making mozzarella and would recommend you try it. I just found that the cheese I could buy saved me a lot of time without sacrificing taste. I do however sometimes make special flavored mozzarella with basil and assorted herbs which add a unique layer of flavor to the Pie.

So maybe I was being a bit paranoid, dreading the discussion of my experiences with cheese. I just so much wanted to be able to tell you to “make your own bread and cheese, and grow your own tomatoes.”  Is that so weird?

Oddly enough, my best old Confederate friend, Joe Elmore, recently gave me a book titled “Weird New Jersey.” The thought of it makes him laugh out loud every time. I know he’s really laughing at me, but that’s OK, I find him pretty funny too. I haven’t found the “Weird North Carolina” book yet, but it’s got to be out there somewhere!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this posting.  Come back for my next installment, “A Match Made in Heaven,”  where I’ll discuss toppings. Get ready to laugh and hear about my “ace-in-the-whole”.


Tomato Pie, Rocky Ford, and Me, Part 2
Bob Radcliffe

Note From Peter:  Bob's first installment has drawn a record number of great responses, so I'm excited to offer you Part Two in his ongoing saga. We'll keep Bob's story going for as long as he keeps sending us his terrific writing. Enjoy!!



So, “what the heck is a Tomato Pie?” you ask. My seasoned reply is simply that “pizza is like a Tomato Pie on steroids.” A strange way to answer? To that, I quietly say “Tomato Pie is not a lot of things.” Do you get it? Tomato Pie is, and always has been, about the bread and tomatoes!

The bread is thin and crisp enough to be picked-up without folding. No seasoned tomato sauce is used, only pieces of tomato cooked on the pie. Cheese and other toppings are used sparingly to enhance, not overwhelm, these ingredients. You may have read that Tomato Pies are built upside down – meaning the cheese goes on first – that is true. But do you know why?

In the early days at DeLorenzo’s, there was no menu. You could have a plain pie, or one with just a few pieces of sweet Italian sausage. As I recall, extra cheese, mushrooms, pepperoni, and so on, were either frowned upon, or suspiciously 86-ed. My pies adhere to these principles, with the substitution of a few toppings – homemade sweet basil sausage, sautéed shitake mushrooms or spinach - and yes, begrudgingly, pepperoni (if I have any).

Well, I can hear you saying, “That’s an easy pie to make.” To which I reply, “Dream on” (or worse). It’s the simplicity of these few ingredients that have made my quest (and yours) such a challenge.

Keep reading as I guide you through the ingredient landscape and tell you about the choices I have made, and the techniques I now employ to build my Tomato Pie. Compare this with your present approach. Steal my best tips, but most of all along the way, try to think with the “Mind of a Chef.” Sean Brock laughs a lot on TV, but I just know he would say, “Don’t ever stop thinking critically when preparing food.” Keep asking yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish?” and “Is this the best way to achieve that objective?”

Let’s start with the bread

I always remember the axiom, you eat first with your eyes. So, how can we make each pie more attractive - like a piece of art? It’s obvious to me - stop making them industrially round or rectangular in shape! My pies are irregularly shaped – by design – and only coincidentally round. It dawned on me one day that my pies weren’t “perfect” as I eyeballed a vendor cooking pies with a new wood-fired oven trailer. His were perfectly round, matching exactly the outline of the cardboard serving tray he was using – incredible! Either I couldn’t toss a dough ball into a round, or it just wasn’t that important to me!

No. I have concluded my irregular shape alters the thickness of the crust and the topping distribution to help make each bite taste different – exactly what I remember about eating DeLorenzo’s Pie. Uniformity is a golden rule of cooking, but one that must be broken at times. I believe this is one of those times. Also, I cut my pies differently. Not into familiar pie-shaped pieces, but rectangular-like shapes that don’t fold when you pick them up. Cut across the widest dimension first, and then perpendicularly into 6-8 pieces.

I am sure that DeLorenzo’s didn’t make long-fermentation (artisan) dough. But after trying a slew of dough recipes over the years with mediocre results, I finally concluded (with help from Peter’s books) it was time to try using an artisan-like crust approach. I read everything I could find, attended the Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers Festival (coming up again this year April 12th) and seminars by Peter Reinhart and Lionel Vatinet – and voila - I was on my way.

At the same time, I had begun constructing my wood-fired oven using the Forno Bravo Pompeii Oven guideline plans, and the resources of the Forno Bravo Forum (more about my oven later). I had already decided that my gas and electric ovens were never going to cut-it if I was to bake the Tomato Pie and crusty breads I so dearly missed now that I lived in North Carolina.

Finding vendors of ingredients was another big obstacle. I needed hard (high protein) wheat flour – like King Arthur Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and other Unbleached Bread Flours – you know, but not in 5-pound grocery store bags, but in 50-pound sacks. Soft (low protein) biscuit flour is everywhere down here in the south because they can grow soft wheat (and it’s cheaper), and only recently have scientists begun developing winter wheat varieties that will grow in the southern climate. David Bissette at The Grain Mill in nearby Wake Forest solved this problem for me.

Experimentation led me to understand how to adjust recipes using the baker’s percentage. Remember that most published recipes assume you are using off-the-shelf bread flour. The harder the flour, the more liquid you need. My restaurant apprenticeship years ago with Chef Jack McDavid in Philadelphia taught me, first and foremost, never serve what doesn’t look or taste right. I just had to make outstanding bread! So I mixed, and I baked, and I threw a lot away (fed it to the chickens). Sounds a lot like I huffed, and I puffed, and I blew the house down – but that was a fairytale. I must confess. I cussed a lot (please forgive me).

My dough recipe today uses King Arthur Sir Lancelot (high gluten) flour, water, yeast and salt - no sugar or oils added. I prefer pies no larger than 12” across because they are easier to manage in the oven. I cut about 250 grams of dough and refrigerate each in sealed plastic containers to develop flavor. I flour my room-temperature, wet-doughs on the counter, stretch them, and then “throw” the dough onto a short handled wooden peel with a thin coating of semolina flour. I like semolina, rather that corn meal or regular flour, because it doesn’t burn as quickly in the oven and ruin the flavor of the crisp crust.

I am proud to say that I think my crust is spot-on. Chick would be proud too. I’m not done talking about making and baking Tomato Pies yet, but need to check on my baby calves. It’s been a long winter feeding and watering through the wet and freezing weather. My back-pasture slopes south and grass sprouts sooner there. Above freezing temperatures and growing grass are signs of spring and the prospect of fewer demands on me to care for my herd and recent newborns.

Understand that there is more to life on a farm than baking Tomato Pies. I’ll be back soon to continue describing my odyssey. My cows are lowing.

Tomato Pie, Rocky Ford, and Me, Part One
Bob Radcliffe

Note from Peter: Bob Radcliffe is, like me, a North Carolina transplant from Philadelphia and, as you will see, also from Trenton, New Jersey, where at least two things of great historical import have occurred. The first was George Washington crossing the Delaware and turning the tide of the Revolutionary War (not an inconsequential thing). The other is the existence of DeLorenzo's Pizzeria. Bob has regaled me with stories of his relentless quest to re-create the fabled Tomato Pies of DeLorenzo's, so I asked him to share his stories with you, which he has agreed to do over the next few weeks. Here is Part One, just a short intro, but it speaks to the same fire-in-your-belly passion that Pizza Quest is all about. Thanks Bob and, to all, enjoy:


I know this is Pizza Quest, but I’m hooked on Tomato Pie. No, this isn’t my latest food-fetish, but something I always craved for since I was old enough to chew. I grew up on the outskirts of Trenton, NJ and until college always ate Tomato Pie at DeLorenzo’s on Hudson Street in the “Berg” (opposite the old Roebling Steel plant that made the cables for the Brooklyn Bridge). After college I commuted by train for a few years from the Trenton Rail Station and stopped in as the last customer on my way home after evening graduate school classes for a late night snack. Years of professional travel took me to all of the “best” pizza shops across the country so I could check them out.

DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie was simply the best! Sadly the old haunt closed in 2012 and relocated to the suburbs. I understand it’s still good, but certainly will never match those pies made in the tiny Hudson Street shop on the coal-fired oven I remember so vividly from the early 1950’s. The sight of carrying shovel-full’s of glowing coals into the shop and spreading them under the oven floor is mindful today of how they slow cook barbecue with glowing wood embers in North Carolina today.

It’s been fifteen years since I left Philadelphia and relocated to Rocky Ford in rural Franklin County, North Carolina, and well over twenty years since I last ate a Tomato Pie at DeLorenzo’s. Frankly, over the years I have made several attempts to replicate that now mythical Tomato Pie. I struggled with the dough recipe and the ovens I had - whether gas or electric. Something was terribly missing. Could it be that hard to make a "Pie"?  For heaven’s sake I was an engineer with advanced degrees – the kind of guys that put men-on-the-moon. I finally just decided to bite the bullet and do whatever it took to make that Pie. Adding insult to injury, I was from Trenton where, if you don’t already know, the bridge over the Delaware River boldly states: “Trenton Makes, the World Takes”. And for me, not to be able to make a Pie, would certainly be a huge embarrassment.

Well I know that Peter and many others have made testament to their lifelong Pizza Quest, but I believe my story needs to be told. So here I am, and this is my story. I hope that you pick-up a few helpful tips along the way. I am sure you won’t want to replicate everything I have done, so just steal the best stuff for yourself.

I don’t pretend to have cloned DeLorenzo’s Pie, or gotten the secret from Chick, but what started as a recipe problem blossomed into my need to build an organic farm, perform tomato trials, grow garlic and basil, build a wood-fired oven, and create a private dining venue (the Franklin BreadWorks) so I could introduce and validate my creation to North Carolinians who, I soon discovered, have never heard of my Tomato Pie. Here, it is usually confused with a tomato dish in a pie pan with some cheese and mayonnaise! But what the hell was one more obstacle to overcome; I was on a mission probably as crazy as the Blues Brothers.

In upcoming postings I am going to take you along on my odyssey. I have to tell you that my favorite cooking show (on PBS) is “Mind of a Chef”. That may help you understand what to expect along the way. What may seem crazy at times has helped me find my way to a clearer understanding of rather simple ingredients and to refine my technique for building the layers of flavor we all seek when we cook.

Bookmark this page now, and plan to come back in a couple of weeks for my next installment. I promise it won’t be a bore! My golden rule at the BreadWorks is, “Did you have a great time?”  Great food, coupled with friends and music, seem the perfect combo to me.

More to come, for sure...


Don Antonio by Starita opening in Atlanta
Brad English

I haven't been to Atlanta, where my brother lives, for quite awhile.  But, I just got word that Roberto Caporuscio is opening a new Don Antonio by Starita there.  I have been lucky enough to meet Roberto and even luckier to have eaten a number of his pizzas in NYC!  I think I now have a new excuse to go visit my family in Atlanta.

I thought I would spread the word as Roberto helps spread artisan pizza around the world!

Below is link to the article I wrote about visiting Don Antonio in New York, where I enjoyed their famous Montanara Starita, which is a lightly fried dough topped with tomato sauce, smoked buffalo mozzarella, and finished in the wood fired oven.  If you haven't tried a fried dough, you will be pleasantly surprised by it's lightness, it's crisp crust, and warm soft interior. If any of you have a chance to check it out, let us know here in the comments section how you liked it!

Don Antonio by Starita

102 West Paces Ferry Road NW

Atlanta, GA


Here's a link to my visit to the New York pizzeria…enjoy!

Wood + Fire
Brad English

What is it that makes a great pizza?

I've been on a personal quest searching for the answers to this question for some time.  I've traveled and eaten more than my share of pizza.  I've also spent many hours slinging my own pies in and out of my home oven in all in an attempt to further understand and expand this quest.  I'd say I've even gotten pretty good at it!  I've made some of the best pizzas I've ever had right here in my electric oven baking pies at 550 degrees. At least you'll have to trust me on that because the pictures look like they are good tasting pies!

Every once in a while I end up being "wowed!"  When that happens, it usually means I'm sitting in a pizzeria with a wood fired oven.  There is something different that the intense heat, fire and smoke bring to a pizza.  My crust is getting better all the time.  I get good puff, some bubbles, and I even manage to get some decent char in my home oven.  But, it's not the same as when Tony Gemignani, Kelly Whitaker, or so many other amazing pizza makers pull a piping hot pie out of their oven.

So, one can wish. One can ponder.  One might even go as far as I have and try to build a wood burning gas grill oven out of my existing grill!

I am happy and sad that a new chapter has begun in that journey.  Wood and fire and oven has come to the English household!  I'm happy because I've wanted one for so long!  I'm sad because now I have no excuses in my quest to be the one to make that perfect pizza!

Yes, I got a new tool, or toy to play with.  A rather large crate came to my door a couple of weeks ago.  It had the words "Forno Bravo Primavera 60" stenciled on the side!  It took some doing, which I'll probably chronicle in the forum, but I can report that it is indeed now up and running!

I was champing at the bit, or chomping.  I champed and chomped as a few loyal and brave friends came over to help me set this oven on it's stand. Let's get this baby set up, fire it up, and make some pizza!  Well, maybe not so fast.  I have made some pretty amazing pizzas in my home oven.  I figured I could now just slide my pizzas into the Primavera and out would come my best pizzas ever.

Well, yes and no.

First I had to learn patience.  It takes 5 days of building "low" temperature fires to finish curing the oven.  As I began the process I remembered filming with Chef Jensen Lorenzen at The Cass House Inn in Cayucos, CA.  Jensen and Peter were talking about his new oven that Jensen and his wife had recently installed.  I remember Peter saying to him, "Over time, you'll figure out how to drive this thing."  As they talked further he discussed how each oven cooks differently and, as it cures and ages, it will continue to evolve in its performance.  I always thought that was interesting.  I recall how much respect he seemed to have for the oven as a sort of participant in the pizza making process -- like it was an ingredient rather than a tool.  It was similar to so many conversations I have heard over the years when a winemaker talks about coaxing the full flavor potential from the land and elements out of their grapes.  It's not just having a good grape, but how and where it's grown.  What soil is helping to feed the vines and how the weather and climate conditions stress the grapes, which creates a better grape.   In both instances, the artisans learn to work with the elemental factors to coax "perfection" into their finished product.

Cooking with fire is definitely a challenge.  Fire is not just heat, it is alive and moving and unpredictable.  It breathes air and exhales smoke and heat.  There is something primal about cooking with fire.  It's never the same - you are always involved and adjusting things when cooking with open fire.  A home oven is a highly controlled heat box.  There are variations in how things cook, how each oven cooks, but in general the home oven is a relatively predictable platform to cook with.  You set the exact temperature and it hits it.  Try building a 300 degree curing fire and keep it in that range for 8 hours!  Now, that's a dance!

I have always been driven to cook with fire.  I think it's about being interactive with the food I'm cooking.  I have a gas grill, which is the easiest application of that desire and also somewhat predictable, but I also pull out my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker to patiently smoke my ribs, fish or other things that need that kind of slow time and attention.  When I want to cook a perfect piece of fish I pass up my oven and gas grill and use the bottom half of my Weber smoker to fire up some lump charcoal and, with added wood chips, try to dance a little with flames and smoke to bring that piece of fish as close to perfection as possible.  I think there's no better way to cook fish!  We'll see how the WFO does!

Hey, I have a Wood Fired Oven, baby!

After 5 days of firing for about 8 hours, at low and rising temperatures each day, I was now ready to take this oven out on the open road.  It's like breaking in a new engine -- you have to drive it slowly for some time before letting it open up.  In this case, it's just to get the water out of the mortar and make sure that it doesn't blow up on you from intense heat creating expanding steam pressure within the structure.

It was time!  Today, more wood; more fire!  The temps were rising!  There's a point at around 800 degrees F. when the black carbon from the fire burns off the inside of the dome.  That's one way to know when you are finally pizza hot.  I'm only a few weeks into driving this oven, but let me tell you it was quest-worthy just seeing that!  I knew it was supposed to happen.  I was looking for it to happen, but when it did, I had a lump in my throat.  I was officially speeding down the highway!

OMG I have a pizza oven right here in my backyard!

I'm going to cut this "I got a Primavera 60" chronicle off here and call this Part I.  I will continue to tell the next part of my story as I figure out how to control this baby! Many of you reading here already have a wood fired oven and can probably relate and hopefully look back with pride and remember how you felt your first time.  For those of you who haven't I hope my journey continues to motivate you to pursue and push your own quests forward.

Thanks to a few of my brave buddies who came over to help me install this thing.  I had a plan and they followed me -- though skeptical at times, we continued our march forward.  Nobody was injured and no backs were hurt during the process!  A few weeks in, they still haven't made it back to try some of my initial test drives!

Stay tuned for some more to come as I venture into this new arena.  I can tell you now that an already difficult task of making pizza and simultaneously taking pictures will now be even more difficult!  I may have to innovate!


Soccer, Coffee...Pizza?
John Arena

When trying to pick the great pizza cities of the world there are a few places that I call the “usual suspects." Naples, for many reasons, is often considered number 1, followed by a chorus of voices shouting about New York, Chicago and, for the real pizza fans, New Haven. All of these places can make a legitimate claim to pizza supremacy but if you are serious about pizza you should consider adding another city to your bucket list. Sure, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix have become great pizza destinations but I’m thinking of a place a bit further south.

There is a city that most pizza fans don’t even think of that can make a strong case for being the Pizza World Headquarters and that place is (drum-roll)…Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wait New Yorkers, stop gnashing your teeth and keep reading. Think about it; first off, Sao Paulo has a multi- cultural population of 32 million people! The economy in Brazil is very strong, with a vibrant middle class that eats out often. And here’s the key part: Sao Paulo is full of Italians or, more accurately, people of Italian descent. That’s right, a recent survey showed that 30% of the college students in Sao Paulo claimed Italian heritage.  In the early 1900’s, at the same time that Italians were pouring into the U.S., a huge number of paesani were headed to the warmer climate of Brazil, seeking work and opportunity. So, for many of the same reasons that pizza found its way to Brooklyn it also ended up in Brazil, and believe me it is thriving. There are 7,000 pizzerias in Sao Paulo alone. We’re not talking about low quality chain places either. The vast majority of these restaurants are wood-fired, artisan pizzerias offering hand crafted pizzas with unique toppings that reflect the abundance and diversity of Brazil’s food culture.

A few weeks ago I travelled with legendary pizzaiolo, Jonathon Goldsmith, of Chicago’s famed Spaccanapoli Pizzeria. I was invited to Sao Paulo to speak at "ConPizza," a gathering of 500 innovative and dedicated pizza makers from all over Brazil. I was brought in to teach, but the truth is the teacher became the student because the Brazilian pizza makers have a lot to offer and can hold their own with pizza exponents anywhere in the world. From delicious Pizza Ripieno (stuffed crust pizza) filled with the creamy Catupiry, a local cheese that’s great on just about anything, to the gorgeous Pepperoni Bread offered at my friend Carlos Zoppetti’s Pizzeria Bari, Brazilians are creating their own spin on pizza that is as much a reflection of their unique influences as Deep Dish is to Chicago.

Pizzerias in Brazil range from beautiful rustic places like Pizza No Roca, a multi award winning restaurant where they lovingly create world class pizzas using meats and produce raised on their own farm, to Veridianna, an opulent multi-level pizza palace that features a tuxedoed musician playing a grand piano on a glass stage. It would take a lifetime to visit all of the great pizzerias of Sao Paulo but it would be a life well spent. The passion and pride of pizza makers like Andre Cotta of Pizza Presto will make a believer out of you.


With the World Cup coming to Brazil, and fantastic espresso available on every corner, it’s a great time for every pizza explorer to head south.




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