Beer and pizza. Picture: Miki Yoshihito, licensed via Flickr Creative Commons
This may be a month traditionally associated with pancakes, but those can wait. It’s time to let the Italians have a turn first as we mark National Pizza Week (February 6-12).
Thin and crispy, deep pan maybe with a stuffed crust, few can resist the delight of freshly baked light dough topped with a tomato paste and a range of toppings that seems to take in every ingredient under the baking Mediterranean sun.
You’ve made your choice of pizza, but what to drink with it? Before you reach automatically for that bottle of chilled Frascati, let me offer you another option: beer.
Not your first thought? Well pizza specialists Dominos beg to differ and have been working with Beer Genie, which aims to broaden the appeal and appreciation of diverse brews from around the world, to match particular pizza flavours with individual beers.
Interestingly, one of the beers used to illustrate the harmony between dish and beverage is Cornwall’s very own traditionally brewed lager, Korev, made at St Austell Brewery. I tried it teamed with Domino’s Pepperoni Passion – loaded with pepperoni and with a double portion of mozzarella cheese – and it does go well, the smooth, full flavour of the lager developing the flavours of the meat and cheese.
For the Tandoori Hot pizza – tandoori chicken, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and spicy little jalepenos – Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, brewed in Derbyshire, is the perfect hoppy foil to the chilli heat. Another good recommendation is Cobra lager, more usually associated with the curry house than the pizza parlour, but keeping its refreshing, zingy flavour despite the heated onslaught from the pizza.
Worthington White Shield is a classic pale ale, produced in Britain’s brewing capital, Burton-on-Trent, to a recipe that goes back generations. Worthington is in the same group these days as Sharp’s Brewery and the same level of care that goes into the Cornish beers is employed at the Staffordshire brewery too. The perfect pizza match here is Domino’s New Yorker, with pepperoni, ham, bacon and mushrooms, although traditionalists with a penchant for Americana may feel that the now imported Brooklyn Lager is the only beer for the job.
Vegetarians, you have not been forgotten. Domino’s Florentine teams Greek Feta cheese with Sun Blush baby plum tomatoes and baby spinach. My vegetarian wife, not in all honesty the world’s biggest beer drinker, was surprised by how well an accompanying Birra Moretti, imported from Italy and widely available, went with her Florentine. Also recommended is the German wheat beer Erdinger Weiss.
So this National Pizza Week why not take the opportunity to expand your beer horizons too?