Competing for pizza glory at the 13th September London Pizza Festival the team behind Made of Dough chose to showcase its Chorizo pizza topped with spicy chorizo and piquillo peppers. The pizza dudes from Brixton clearly understood a factor that I, a Margherita man, have been slow to accept:
London is a hot pizza town.
Serving the 500+ voters at Borough Market a slice with a hot-chilli kick apparently did not hurt Made of Dough’s chances at all. They took home the Pizza Bianca, the trophy awarded to the London Pizza Festival champions.
The classic red, white and green Margherita, with tomato, mozzarella and basil, may be the first pizza listed on most London pizzeria menus, but it is the spiciest pizzas that typically rise to the top. This appears to be as true at national chains (the Pizza Express American Hot, with hot green, roquito or jalapeño peppers) as it is at adored indies:
– The Pizza Pilgrims Nduja, a Margherita spiked with spicy ‘Nduja sausage
– The Ruben’s Bakehouse Rock ‘n Roll, ignited by spicy sausage and crushed chillies.
– The Story Deli Fast Eddie, accented with spicy sausage, chorizo, bird’s eye chillies and hot chilli sauce.
Sud Italia may have featured a pizza accessorised with fresh tomatoes and imported Margherita di Bufala at the London Pizza Festival but Silvestro Morlando, the operator of this Citroën pizza van, concedes this was not a strategic choice. His spicy Diavola pizza is always the bestseller at Old Spitalfields Market, where Sud Italia is parked. The Londoners, says Morlando, go crazy for it.
For my list of the Top 10 Pizzas in London I limited consideration to Margheritas. I concluded it was best to judge pizzas like-for-like, focusing on the fundamental elements of crust, tomato and cheese. But if London is truly a hot pizza town maybe it’s time to stop thinking like a tricoloured traditionalist and bring the best chilli pizzas into play.
Where do you stand? Are you a Margherita monogamist? Or do you like your pizza hot and spicy?