Every year, the World Pizza Championships are held in Parma, Italy, and every year, one talented pizzaiolo goes home with a trophy for world's best margherita pizza. Forget everything you know—this year, Australia won.
The competition, which invited 35 countries to participate, was held last week over the course of two days, the highest honor being granted at the end of the events. The winner (who is originally from Naples, so how is this okay) was Johnny Di Francesco of Brunswick, Australia's 400 Gradi.
Each pizza had to follow meticulous guidelines:
Under the rules of the competition, a margherita pizza must be under 35cm in diameter, cooked in a wood-fired oven and contain only certain ingredients, such as peeled tomatoes, cheese, garlic, olive oil and salt.
But that was no sweat for Di Francesco, whose nickname is "Mr. Pizza." No bells and whistles. Just Mr. Pizza.
Are we in an age of lackluster American pizza-making? Is the pizza belt shrinking? With the New York Times Magazine declaring that "just because something is everywhere, it doesn't necessarily mean it's all that great," and after the recent death of Grimaldi's cofounder Carol Grimaldi, could we be cut out of the pizza pie? Is Australia taking the last slice? What sauce do we have left to stand on?
Where have you had your best margherita slice?*
*Answers only permitted if outside of Australia.