Throughout the course of the pandemic, many New Yorkers found themselves ordering in more than going out for food. While nothing quite beats the taste of a New York pizza, there are ways to bring your pizza-eating experience to the next level.
New York City’s Anthony Falco is a Global Pizza Consultant and has been traveling internationally for years helping others perfect their craft. As a tried and true New Yorker, Falco knows a good pie when he tastes it, but among his travels, Falco has found ways to elevate New York-style pizzas.
When he’s home, Falco usually grabs a slice or pie from Brooklyn’s Freehold Pizza, Lucali’s or Norm’s (“I would consider all three of these the champagne of pizza locations. All are different but leaders in their own categories,” says Falco). Once he gets the pizza home, there are three different herbs and spices that he tops his slice off with Sicilian Oregano, Sichuan Chili Crisp or Za’atar.
“These have all come from my travels. Working with the Fly By Jings founder in Los Angeles is where I first discovered her awesome Sichuan Chili Crisp,” said Falco. “In Kuwait, I was turned on to wide varieties of Za’atar by some Lebanese chefs I worked with. Sicilian oregano really blew me away when I traveled to the Island to learn about where my ancestors came from.”
Adding these herbs and spices will to your slice will take your tastebuds on a journey. Grown in Sicily, Sicilian Oregano is unique compared to other varieties of oregano because it has a bitter and spicy taste that pairs well with pizza.
For those who want to give their pizza a true spicy kick, Sichuan Chili Crisp is the way to go. Inspired by the street food in Chengdu, China, Sichuan Chili Crisp offers an intense flavor that isn’t too overly hot. Za’atar is a spice blend popular in the Middle East that combines dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram with sumac and toasted sesame seeds, and sometimes includes extra herbs and spices. The combo creates an earthy and bright flavor profile that pairs perfectly with the cheesy, saucy goodness of your favorite pizza.
As for a drink that could go with your slice? Falco recommends giving champagne a try, particularly G.H. Mumm champagne. The different options of champagne from G.H. Mumm each pair differently depending on what kind of slice you’re eating.
“G.H. Mumm Champagne, in particular, is laid back and actually pairs really well with pizza,” said Falco. “The Pinot Noir-forward notes of G.H. Mumm Brut Grand Cordon is great for white pies, and the G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Rosé plays well with saucy red pies. You don’t have to worry about it too much, it’s easy-going just like pizza.”
Falco recognizes that trying out new flavors on your pizza can be a bit daunting, but it’s definitely worth it.
“I would say definitely try as many new things as possible, but not all at once,” said Falco. “Try to take one unconventional ingredient, highlight it with some supporting classic flavors, and pair it with some bubbles from G.H. Mumm Champagne.”