World’s best pizza?

by Forager on January 6, 2009

After meaning to for years, I recently finally found an opportunity to try the pizza at Hugos Bar Pizza. A few years back I heard they’d won a pizza competition in New York with a very bold and inflammatory title: “World’s Best Pizza”. From memory the winning pizza was something with a seafood flavour but after countless Google searches I can’t determine the exact pizza that won. My surprise was compounded when I found that the wait staff at Hugos Bar Pizza are also clueless about the pizza that won them the title. These guys win lots of regional and national titles, but surely with a title like that, you’ve struck marketing black gold and you milk it for all it’s worth. I wanted to try the winning pizza – but I guess it’s sorta cool that they don’t know (or care).

One waiter rather unconvincingly told us that he thought the winning pizza was their pork belly pizza: with slow roasted pork belly, sweet & sour onions and radicchio (photos on left). So we tried it.

The verdict? Unusual and interesting. A very tasty flavourful pizza with strong and rich pork belly flavours. Don’t get me wrong I’m a pork fiend that rivals the best of them but whilst the ‘porkiness’ was good for me, it might have been strong for others. Would I get it again? Yeah, I would – but I’ll try the prawn pizza next time. I suspect that’s the pizza that won the title.

Perhaps I’m just wasting my time looking for the best pizza in the world when *looks around conspiratorily* I know where it is and have tasted the real deal. For me, it is without a doubt, Da Michele in Napoli, Italy (http://www.damichele.net/).

This is serious, no nonsense pizza. They serve 2 types only: margherita and marinara – no variations allowed. Both pizzas are shown in the photo to the right. We watched the making of these masterpieces and cooking in their enormous woodfire oven takes all of about 90 seconds. A minute in the oven before rotating the pizza for an additional 30 seconds of intensity. Finally, the pizza is lifted and “singed” at the top of the oven as a finishing touch. From memory, back in 2004 when I was there, it was about 10 euro for a pizza and a beer – the perfect combination. And once you’ve tasted their pizzas you will be guaranteed instant transport to pizza bliss heaven. Blindingly hot, tasty, gooey and simple. The way pizza should be.

I’ve since seen a BBC story about “official Neapolitan pizza (http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/viewstampa.php?n=65). To be certified in Napoli, pizza makers need to follow strict guidelines: extra virgin olive oil, buffalo mozzarella and the pizza has to be cooked in a wood fired oven within 2 minutes. Controversially, Da Michele doesn’t follow these guidelines so isn’t certitified in Napoli. They use soybean oil and a mozzarella made with cow’s milk instead of buffalo’s milk. For me though, the lack of certification doesn’t change my opinion of Da Michele’s pizzas. It’s hands down the best pizza in the world and I would fly halfway around the world to get there for another taste.

If you’re heading to Napoli – visit Da Michele and you won’t regret it.

Addresses:
Hugos Bar Pizza
33 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross. (02) 9357 4411.
Open Tuesday – Saturday: 17:00 till late; Sunday 15:00 till late.
http://www.hugos.com.au/

Da Michele
Via Cesare Sersale, 1/3 (angolo Via P. Colletta), Napoli
http://www.damichele.net/

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve February 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

i might be wrong, but i think there are holders of some Italian pizza licence in Sydney: Pizza Mario and Il Tratto Raro (or something like that – on Majors Bay Road).

2 Forager February 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Hey Steve – Yup, absolutely right. Pizza Mario holds one of those licenses. I thought that Rosso Pomodoro might also hold a license, but the official website doesn’t list them as a recipient. Check it out here: http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/shownaz.php?n=Australia

.. And wait for my Pizza Mario post – coming very soon!

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