Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another chance at pizza

I know I've likely talked about pizza here before, but pizza is somewhat odd here. Whoever thought pizza should be migrated over here from various places (Italy, America...wherever else pizza is bastardized and appropriately localized), obviously took some notes and then burned them.

What most people call "pizza" here is an indecent facsimile. I mean, it has all the right things for one to generally call it under the category of pizza...but somewhere along the way it goes wrong. Like it has a crust (usually quite thin, in the Italian, not Chicago style), usually tomato-sauce or something vaguely resembling it, cheese (usually mozzarella), and toppings.

Toppings. Now the toppings is generally where they get it wrong. Any Italian will tell you that. Because generally Italians only use fresh ingredients. And it doesn't have anything to do with cheese. And their pizzas are tiny. And amazing. And somehow unlike any other pizzas you'll have in your life.

But I digress.

These aren't even like American pizzas, which are slightly more similar to these than Italian pizzas. We do do our pizzas with the thicker crust, tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings. So on that note we are on the same page. But then something horribly wrong happens.

Again, the choice of toppings.

Let me demonstrate.

On a typical American pizza, our topping combinations usually go something like this:

Meat Lovers: Pepperoni, sausage, chicken, sometimes ground beef (aka: all meat).
Vegetarian: Green bell peppers (otherwise known as paprikas), onions, black olives, mushrooms (aka: all vegetables).
Hawaiian: Pineapple, ham.
Combination: Pepperoni, sausage, black olives, green bell peppers, onions (aka: combo of meat and veggies).

That's usually as far as it goes. You could have some fancier variations too such as:

The Great White: Chicken, alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, garlic, onions, sometimes artichoke hearts (aka: all white).
Barbeque Chicken: Chicken, onions, barbeque sauce instead of tomato sauce, bell peppers.
The Santa Fe: Chicken, corn, onions, bell peppers, cheddar cheese and Monterey jack cheese in addition to the normal cheese.

But we're getting into the gourmet section now. You see my point. Basically the sauce changes and you get a fancier selection of toppings. Most nicer pizza places serve these though and they're usually quite good.

Anyhow, Finland somehow got it wrong. Instead of going with the normal combinations of toppings (American or Italian...Italian being something to do with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, pancetta, tomato sauce, basil, or fresh tomatoes), their standby is instead:

pineapple, bleu cheese, meat.

What in god's name?!

Who got the wrong memo?!

Surprisingly this is actually a very decent flavor combination (I've had it once or twice now...purely out of curiosity) but it is quite odd. Especially since bleu cheese is featured almost nowhere else in their normal cuisine. I just wonder who thought up such a thing. Probably someone with a wrong shipment of ingredients. Or someone starving. Or someone who liked to play practical jokes and then found out it was marketable.

In any case, I tend to shy away from pizza here, since it is so generally unsatisfying in comparison to my experiences with my hometown counterparts.

But every once in awhile I crack. And last weekend I cracked. I almost ordered the steak instead, but after my last experience with "steak" (aka the thinnest piece of beef I've seen outside of a pho bowl), I decided to give pizza a chance again.

This one even had something resembling combination on the menu:

Actually that's a lie. I ordered a vegetarian pizza and asked for an extra topping of chicken on it. But whatever, the result is relatively close to the same. Or so I hoped.

This pizza in it of itself was alright. Not great, again, but not a horrendous substitute if pizza was what I was really going for. It had all the right things going for it - olives, chicken, red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, tomato sauce.

I have to admit though, there really is still something missing from these pizzas here. I just can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's just that they're not greasy enough or something. I dunno.

I ate about 1/3 of it before not being hungry anymore (that's how my eating tends to go here: I stop being hungry after awhile instead of being satisfied and full). I packed it up and had two meals' worth of food over the next week.

At 13euros you really can't argue with the value of pizzas, that's something I'll say. And this was one of the better pizzas I'd had - at least it was the most like home that I'd had so far. :)

I'll still keep my search up for the perfect pizza. They do have Pizza Hut here (gosh I know, of all the pizza chains to bring over from the States...they had to choose Pizza Hut...~_~ downright embarrassing...couldn't they have at least chosen Papa John's or something?). From my perusal of their outside menu they've decided to market it as the classy fancy pizza in town and it serves beer and wine along with desserts. I just find this confusing instead of appealing. Perhaps I will break sometime soon and try it anyway. I imagine it would be quite good. We'll see though.

Until next time, pizza craving, until next time...

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