Picking brackets during March Madness is tough but choosing what to eat while watching the game isn’t. Pizza is not only popular at restaurants and parties during the games, but all year long. Technomic reports 43% of consumers are enjoying pizza at least once a week. Consistently chosen as one of America’s favorite foods, it has evolved from what was once just an Italian specialty. According to Charles Duque, Director, The French Dairy Board for the Americas, "European cheeses are a key ingredient in many of the on trend regional styles and chef driven internationally inspired creations." His favorite? A pizza with Reblochon, potatoes, bacon and onions based on the flavors found in a classic French tartiflette, a potato gratin from Savoy in the Alps. Originally created by Paul Hollywood, a judge on The Great British Baking Show, Hollywood says the tartiflette pizza can also be made with other oozy and flavorful French cheeses. Other cheeses from the French Alps that pair well with potatoes, bacon and onion on a pizza are Raclette and Comté. "The hearty and comforting combination of rich French Alpine cheeses bring to mind another traditional French dish, fondue," says Duque.
While gooey melted cheese is one of the things we love most about pizza, cheese added to pizzas after being baked in the oven are a top trend at pizza competitions says Avalanche Pizza owner pizza judge and World Pizza Champion John Gutekanst. He says, "It’s the presentation, especially with arugula, chutneys, and cheeses including Brie and Camembert." The key he says, is not to put the cheeses on the pizza until they come out of the oven, "When it cools down a bit you add it. You want the visual effect." Gutekanst also advocates using very ripe French cheeses such as Brie to enhance the umami in mushroom pizzas. Another popular trend are pizzas with Asian ingredients. Gutekanst has experimented with Emmental and finds it to be ideal with the Korean ingredient kimchi.
Pizza expert Tony Gemignani, The Pizza Bible author and a World Pizza Champion who owns dozens of pizza restaurants says Detroit style pizza is also gaining momentum. Detroit style is a square pie with a thick crust, that is crisp on the edges with cheese. Says Gemignani, "We were the first to launch it in California" adding, "The spike in the industry with Cheddar is going nationwide. I teach it at the Int’l Pizza School and it’s also one of the cheeses in the cast iron Chicago style pizza. The applications are different—it’s not just a melting cheese, it caramelizes the edges and that makes it a distinct flavor that’s reminiscent of the crisp bits of mac and cheese."
No matter if you are watching your brackets or just enjoying the excitement of March Madness you won’t be alone when reaching for one more slice of gooey pizza, it’s a sure win.
About the Cheeses of Europe
The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Campaign, orchestrated by Cniel (The French Dairy Inter-Branch Organization) and funded in part by the European Union, was designed to create awareness for the variety of European cheeses available in the US market and to suggest ways that American consumers can incorporate those cheeses into their diets, recipes and lifestyles. The campaign’s goal is to increase the appeal of European cheeses and strengthen their competitive position in the growing specialty cheese category.
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THE CONTENT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT REPRESENTS THE AUTHOR’S POINT OF VIEW ONLY AND IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AUTHOR. THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY USE THAT MAY BE MADE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED THEREIN.