Greek Pizza

Greek Pizza

Connecticut has the best pizza in the world. That’s just a simple fact. It might upset a bunch of New Yorkers, Chicagoans, and maybe some Italians, but it’s true (California pizza doesn’t even deserve to be called pizza). New Haven style pizza (or apizza as it’s locally known) is famous, and deservedly so. It’s wonderful. But I didn’t grow up in and around New Haven. I grew up just outside of Hartford. In my neck of the woods, Greek pizza is king.

Greek pizza isn’t as famous as Italian. Doing a quick internet search, most of the things that come up aren’t even Greek pizza. They’re just pizza with feta on it. Feta’s just a topping. It doesn’t change the nature of the pizza. There is a Wikipedia article on Greek pizza, but it’s only one paragraph long and it doesn’t even come up on the first page of search results. So, apparently Greek pizza isn’t famous at all. I’ve only ever seen it in Connecticut, Western Mass, and Rhode Island (although Wikipedia does say it is popular throughout New England). That’s too bad. It ought to be well known.

The major difference between Greek and Italian pizzas is the crust. A Greek pizza is cooked in a shallow pan that has been lubed with olive oil. The oil bakes into the crust which gives it a distinctive flavor. Imagine dipping a good piece of bread into olive oil and adding some caramelization to that. The texture is also changed. It’s thicker than New York or New Haven style pizzas. Done right, Greek pizza crust has a crunchy exterior with a chewy interior.

The sauce is usually smoother than other pizzas. There won’t be any chunks of tomato in the sauce. And the cheese layer is a bit thicker. The other big difference is the way a Greek pizza is cut. Instead of triangles, the pizza is cut in a crosshatch patter which give square pieces. There are, however, four small triangle pieces, known as the “corner” pieces, on every pizza. The external pieces have a crust-only border, but the interior pieces have the sauce and cheese covering the entire piece.

That is the pizza I grew up with. I was even puzzled as a kid as to why pizza slices were triangular in cartoons. My favorite part of the pizza was the corner pieces. I don’t know why, probably because they were small and different, but I always wanted to start with a corner piece.

I’m not saying that Greek pizza should replace Italian pizza. The two can happily coexist. When I get pizza, sometimes it’s Greek and sometimes it’s Italian. What I am saying is that more people need to realize that they have options when it comes to pizza. Also, if you come to Connecticut to try the pizza (and you absolutely should come to Connecticut to try the pizza), try a variety of pizzas. You won’t be sorry.

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