Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pizza can be French, too!

The nutty, buttery flavor of semi hard cheeses distinguishes much French pizza from Neapolitan-style pies made only with milky mozzarella. When the cheese is spread over a thin round of dough coated with tomato and herbs and then subjected to the relentless whoosh of heat in a brick oven, the result is a bubbling, molten masterpiece.

In the South of France, especially in Provence (pictured) and along the Côte d'Azur, they understand tomatoes, basil, olive oil and anchovies. The region's proximity to Italy and its influx of Italian immigrants, vacationers and retirees has, over the decades, provided a steady supply of pizza cognoscenti.

The divinely thin crusts constitute the hallmark of the best wood-fired French pizza: crisp but not hard, delicate but not brittle, charred but not burned, flour-powdered but not dry.
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