There are many kinds of pizzas on the market and when you research it, you’ll find there’s a rabbit hole underworld full of subcategories. The main ones are traditional, regular, and gourmet. While most people can conceptualize traditional and regular, gourmet is a whole other ballgame. So what is gourmet pizza?
As the name suggests, it’s a fancier style of pizza that can involve any culture and range from breakfast to dinner or even dessert. These come with an arrangement of elite toppings you don’t usually find on traditional or regular pizzas.
While the term “gourmet” is a newer marketing concept, these pizza styles have been around for literally centuries. It caters to those who have money to spend, since the price tends to be higher for a gourmet pizza.
Gourmet versus Traditional or Regular Pizza
To understand what makes gourmet pizza so special, it’s important to layout the difference between traditional and regular pizza.
Traditional pizza comprises yeasted dough for the crust with a thin layer of tomato sauce topped with mozzarella. Sometimes these will have other toppings like onions, anchovies, tomatoes, artichokes and olives. The names of these feature the various areas around Italy or Sicily known for their pizzas.
For instance, the Neapolitan pizza comes from Naples, Italy. It will often have a thick crust with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves and sometimes olives. The Pizza Romana is basically the same thing, but it comes from Rome, Italy and has a thinner crust.
Regular pizza, on the other hand, is the typical fare you find at your local pizzeria. Of course, there will be traditional but they will also offer things like sausage, onion, garlic, pepperoni, veggie or the works. These can range in crust types and styles from thick and chewy to thin and crispy.
Understand that, although there’s a marked difference between regular and traditional versus gourmet pizza, it’s simply a marketing ploy. Anyone can make a gourmet, traditional or regular pizza at home for mere pennies.
Market research has illustrated for decades that when you label a product “gourmet,” more people are apt to buy it. This isn’t to mitigate the value or recipes behind gourmet pizza, but wise consumers should be aware of this fact.
Therefore, most gourmet pizzas you find in the grocery store or at a restaurant will likely cost more than other kinds. However, some people argue the difference is in its cooking. Firebrick ovens, special pizza ovens, typical ovens or a pizza stone will produce slight variations in crispiness and taste.
Types of Gourmet Pizza
To answer the question, “What is gourmet pizza?” is not straightforward. This is because gourmet pizza can cover a range of cultures, not just Italian or Sicilian. Plus, there’s no end to the kinds of toppings that can go onto such a pie for any meal of the day.
The only thing limiting the types with toppings and sauce is the imagination. Some of these mentioned below are to illustrate how varied gourmet pizzas can be:
- Greek: Pita crust, feta cheese, tomato sauce heavy with oregano, Kalamata olives, green onions
- Chinese: Rice flour crust, peanut sauce, tofu, fried wontons, pickled bamboo, scallions
- Mexican: Corn tortilla crust, enchilada sauce, Chihuahua cheese, white onions, cilantro, tomatoes, crema fresco
- Tex Mex: Corn flour crust, spicy ranchero sauce, beef brisket, black beans, corn, queso fresco, jalapenos, sour cream
- Buffalo New York: Spicy buffalo sauce, chicken, ranch dressing, mozzarella
- French: Puff pastry crust, béchamel sauce with white wine, ham, Swiss cheese, shallots
- Korean BBQ: Thinly sliced grilled pork, beef and shrimp; black bean paste, red pepper paste, sesame oil, cheddar or imsil cheese, kimchi
- Hawaiian: Taro sauce, pineapple, ham, pork belly, papaya, onions
- Jamaican: Corn flour puff pastry crust, jerk chicken/beef, no cheese, onions
- American Cheeseburger: ranch dressing, ground beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, yellow onions
- Japanese (Okonomiyaki): Egg, sweet Worcestershire sauce, pork, eel, cabbage, noodles, prawns, squid
- Scottish: Haggis, whiskey sauce, Cambus O’May cheese, onions, mushrooms
- Irish: Sharp aged white cheddar, corned beef, potatoes, mustard cream sauce
- German: Frankfurters, limburger cheese, gypsy sauce, red onions
- Australian: Emu, dill, tiger prawns, salmon, kangaroo
- Mediterranean: Pita crust, hummus, olives, feta, parmesan, bleu cheese, onions, tomatoes, basil, parsley
- Seafood: Anchovies, shrimp, lobster, tuna, mussels, lobster cream sauce, scallops, crabmeat, mushrooms, onions, sorrel
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, no sauce, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, green onions
- Dessert: Puff pastry crust, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, shredded chocolate, marshmallows
- Dessert Variation: Pie crust, custard, apples, pears, honey, crème fresh
- Vegan: Bread crust of seed oil (no eggs), onions, mushrooms, green peppers, olives, artichokes, vegan cheese
Themed Gourmet Pizza
To further expatiate on this idea, a gourmet pizza doesn’t have to relegate itself to a culture, specific diet or mealtime. It can have a myriad of cold or hot themes that are fun yet bizarre and are often for those with tastes that are more adventurous. Most mentioned without cheese means you can use standard mozzarella.
- Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, Swiss cheese, cranberries
- Japanese Death Trap: Fugu (poisonous puffer fish), daikon radish, carrot, cabbage, miso paste, purple sweet potatoes, green onions, no cheese, rice flour crust
- Green Goddess: Pesto sauce, cheese infused with green herbs, spinach, artichokes, green onions, parsley, basil
- Rise N Shine: Cream cheese, sunny side up eggs, shredded Colby, onions, apples, sausage, garlic
- Spicy Pain: Pepper jack cheese, spicy tomato sauce, chili peppers, Habanero peppers, garlic, onions, sundried tomatoes, sour cream
- Tropical: Shredded coconut, pineapple, grilled shrimp, sweet onions, mango, red pepper paste
- Chicken Tikka Masala (Indian Pizza): Chicken, cumin, cayenne pepper, garam masala sauce, ginger, yogurt, jalapeno, naan crust, ghee
- S’mores: Graham cracker crust, marshmallows, melted chocolate wafers
- Cinnamon Roll: Pastry crust, cinnamon spread, powdered sugar, vanilla icing
- Forager: Most ingredient retrieved from the great outdoors; mushrooms, wild onion, wild garlic, hedge parsley, dandelion leaves
- Sugar Tooth: Meringue, candied ginger, candied, grapefruit, gumdrops, powdered sugar, cookie crust, confectioner’s sugar
- Choco-holic: Chocolate chip cookie crust, chocolate custard, semisweet dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chunks, chocolate cookie crumbles, milk chocolate raspberry sauce, raspberries, chocolate syrup, powdered sugar
- Fresh Citrus: Apricot glaze, mascarpone, whipped cream, oranges, limes, lemons, pineapple, grapefruit, pastry crust
- Spring Flowers: Cauliflower crust, dandelions, lavender buds, clover, linden, lilac, no cheese, sunflower butter, honey
- Yuletide: Puff pastry pie crust, eggnog custard, dark chocolate wafers, peppermint candies, whipped cream, powdered sugar
Italian or Sicilian Gourmet Pizzas
Of course, many variations on Italian or Sicilian classics can also fall under the category of being “gourmet.” These will go outside the traditional or regular styles and offer something a little extra that you don’t usually see.
The only caveat is that the ingredients should come from or be reminiscent of the areas around Sicily or Italy. The table below lists just some of these rarities known to be popular throughout this area of the Mediterranean.
|Clams||Goat Cheese||Chili Peppers||Italian Walnut Sauce|
|Crab||White or Black Truffle||Pine Nuts||Bolzano|
So, let’s finalize the mystery around, “what is gourmet pizza?” Essentially, it’s a marketing gimmick to make more money off a classic and inexpensive Italian dish. However, the main feature of gourmet pizza goes above and beyond typical pizzeria fare, sometimes pushing the envelope of what’s acceptable.
The sky’s the limit with gourmet pizza and it can feature any theme, culture or concept. From Greek to Breakfast and everything in between, there’s something unusual or different about the ingredient arrangement. These can be expensive, but they’re worth a try at least once in your life.