BENGALURU: From being a peasant food in its initial days to becoming an essential element during hangouts, pizza has come a long way with unique variations and taste. So much so, that people now celebrate their love for pizzas on Pizza Day, which falls on February 9. With bread, tomato, dairy products, and easily available meats or vegetables, pizza is now considered a wholesome meal, and Indians have fallen for it. “It completes a circle of carbs, fats, proteins and vitamins in a meal. In addition to this, we as Indians share our food, be it home or when we head out to eat, so pizza is a quick and easy-to-eat item, which comes with different toppings,” says Shivanth Nishkam, partner at Red Tomato, Jayanagar. For a lot of Indian parents, pizza is a great way to get children to eat veggies like broccoli in the form of toppings, adds Mani Pathak, executive chef, Fox In The Field.
Though its origin is said to be in Naples, pizzas have turned desi for Indians, thanks to twists with fusion toppings like paneer tikka, chicken tikka, paneer butter masala, to name a few. “Indians mostly embrace food that is finely balanced with spice, and pizza gives you just that,” says Prakash Kumar, executive chef, The Woodrose, adding that new incorporation of pizza toppings around the world include Balado Pizza (spicy chilly pizza with beef or chicken), Randang pizza (spicy beef pizza) and Tom Yum Pizza in Indonesia, and Pizza Viennese/Pizza capricciosa (mozzarella, tomato, mushroom, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, olive oil) and Four cheese pizza (Mozzeralla, stracchino, fontina and gorgonzola) in Italy.
Chef Eliyaz, Chef de Cuisine, JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru, says sweet pizza has become quite popular in recent times. “Instead of tomato sauce in the base, sauces like different vegetable purees are used. Capers, burrata, anchovies etc. are popular nowadays.”As for the cheesier bit, while the most popular type of cheese used in the preparation of pizza is Mozzarella, the other varieties of cheese that have become popular are Feta, Scamorza, Provolone, Smoked Gouda, Blue cheese, Ricotta, Goat cheese and Cream cheeses. Keeping the choice of Bengalureans in mind, vegan and gluten-free options in pizzas are an emerging trend, says Yash Mathur, executive sous chef, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway. People are becoming increasingly wellness-focused and are looking for fresh and healthy options in a familiar form. “We can also expect the trends of whole wheat, maize flour and millet based pizzas in the coming days,” adds Kumar.