Remember when pizzas were simple creatures? A tomato base, some cheese, some ham and, if you dare, some pineapple.*
Now there are pizzas with prosciutto and roquette, prawns and bocconcini, pesto and parmesan. Sometimes all on the one base.
We love it that chefs are using the humble pizza as a base for flavours. If there's one thing we've learned over the years is that the best pizza is not overloaded with ingredients and conflicting flavours.
Is there anything more delightful than a patate pizza, with paper-thin slices of potato, garlic oil, rosemary and a generous sprinkle of salt?
February 9 is World Pizza Day, celebrated around the world, for pizza, or the essence of pizza, that is complementary ingredients on a dough base, has a place in so many cuisines.
At The Department of Pizza in Campbell every day is World Pizza Day, according to restaurant manager Paolo Baroni.
"Except for Monday, we need one day off," he says.
"Everybody loves pizza, it's a food made for sharing."
Owners Emily Cole, Ricky Cole and Matt Muller have built a community in the Campbell shops. The venue opened in 2020 after a few years of running a foodvan at pop-ups and markets around town.
Emily says the secret is the 35-year-old sourdough starter they use which came from a family member.
"She can be a fussy thing who changes with the weather even, but she produces the best dough."
Let's hope the sourdough starter is ready for World Pizza Day.
We'd like to grab a slice from all of these Canberra pizzerias. Have we missed your favourite?
The Department of Pizza, Campbell
Open for lunch and dinner, we love the classy but casual vibes of DOP. Sourdough bases are topped with simple, fresh ingredients and the menu changes depending on what's in season. There's a neat drinks list too featuring wines from Australia and Italy, with some Canberra District vintages thrown in for good measure. Dessert too, try the tiramisu, it's from a recipe by restaurant manager Paolo Baroni's nonna.
Grab a slice of: The potato and prosciutto is the best seller, with a sprinkle of rosemary
Pizza Artigiana, Macquarie and City
With locations in Macquarie and Verity Lane Market, Pizza Artigiana is a Canberra favourite. Chef Thapa Magar Hemnath was named as one of the world's top 100 pizza chefs in 2023 and co-owner Silvio Miceli has a proud Italian heritage. There's an extensive menu, which starts at breakfast time in the Macquarie location. While ordering a "Sandy" doesn't sound quite as exotic as a quattro formaggi, you'll soon be on a first name basis.
Grab a slice of: Chef Hemm's signature with mozzarella, provolone, gorgonzola, parmesan, Italian pork sausage and nduja salami.
Mama Dough, Ainslie
Tucked in the laneway behind Edgar's, Mama Dough is the epitome of a true local. It's quick and friendly and does a roaring takeaway trade late in the week. If you're eating in, sneak around to the tables outside Edgar's and claim your space. The bases are puffy and crisp, charred to perfection on an occasional edge. For dessert, wrap it all around some Nutella in a calzone. Some good combo deals too.
Grab a slice of: Sausage with fior di latte, red onion, rosemary and chilli oil.
Da Bronx, Forde
Head to New York, via Forde, for a taste of the Big Apple's eponymous pizza style. Mouth-watering toppings sit on a thin crust that's crisp at the edge but folds for easy eating. They have jumbo pizzas that stretch to a length of 46cm and the menu has a bit of fun with offerings such as Wall Street (barbecue chicken) and a vegetarian Manhattan. Lash out and buy a corn dog for the whole US experience.
Grab a slice of: Central Park, with mild pepperoni, chorizo, mushroom, onion and mozzarella on a barbecue sauce base.
To All My Friends, Cook
This little venue might be Canberra's best kept secret. Before you even get to the pizza menu, try something from the impressive rotating craft beer list. You'll need a drink to help you decide what to order such is the variety, all sorts of things on tomato, garlic and barbecue bases. There's a super "build your own pizza" menu for the kids too, $12 for three different toppings. Perfect family outing.
Grab a slice of: The loaded vegan pizza comes highly recommended, with beetroot hummus, artichoke, cherry tomatoes, olives, Spanish onion, basil and olive oil.
3rd Space, Hackett
Alex Nocera and the team at this friendly spot at the Hackett shops have really upped their pizza game recently and we're here for it. They've a real passion for pizza, from the dough to the toppings and he's thinking ahead by installing an electric oven which turns out pizzas like they've been wood-fired. 2024's shaping up as big year, he's looking for more venues, but is keen to elevate the toppings with twists on the classics.
+ Pineapple or not. Vote now.