Generally, food in New Zealand is quite tasty but the whole country seems to have a blindspot when it comes to pizza. Even stalwarts like Dominos and Pizza Hut, which you would expect to generate a standard, greasy pizza, fail since they try to follow the local trends, which are odd at best and awful at worst. These pizza sins include:
- Sauce on top of the pizza. For some unfathomable reason, NZ thinks that putting a drizzle of barbeque sauce/mayonnaise/whatever on top of a pizza makes it better. In my opinion, it does the opposite. What’s wrong with just tomato sauce?
- Weird toppings. This sin is often related to the previous one, as the sauce often “complements” the theme, such as apricot chicken or BBQ bacon. While strange toppings can be interesting at a nice pizza place, those two flavors are offered by Pizza Hut and Dominos here. I do not trust those places to execute new flavors well.
- Too small. Most of the pizzas here are reasonably-sized (and, with diameter measurements, you pretty much know what you’ll get), but this sin can still catch us out. M and I ordered calzones from a new place once, expecting a large, topping-filled pocket like we’d expect in the US. Instead, it seemed as if they’d used a tiny personal pizza that had barely anything inside. Very disappointing!
- Crust is too dry. In NZ, the pizza crust is a distant afterthought. From Dominos to more “fancy” places, crusts are dry, overly crispy, and have very little taste. Piling on weird toppings and sauces does not hide the mediocrity of the crusts here.
The best pizzas we’ve had in New Zealand have all been drawn directly from the homes of pizza, Italy and the US. For a company-wide dinner we once went to Dante’s Pizzeria, a small place that was the first to be accredited by L’Associazione Vera Pizza Napolentana in Italy. Apparently this means that they make pizzas the authentic Italian way, and it definitely tasted like it: the crusts were delicious, the toppings were high-quality, and there was no sauce on top except for olive oil. Dante’s was very nice for a fancy dinner, but our pizza go-to is Sal’s Pizza, a chain cooking New York style pizza. Like Dante’s, they use authentic ingredients like American pepperoni and Wisconson cheese. The pizzas are huge, greasy, and exactly what you’d want when you’re craving pizza. Sorry New Zealand, but America is still the best!
Note: This post inspired by the fact that it rained all weekend so M and I stayed indoors, played video games, and ate Sal’s Pizza.