A week-long celebration of pizza is coming to Calgary starting this weekend, and you don’t even need to leave the house to partake.
La Pizza Week, a festival of takeout pizza that invites foodies to vote for their favourite slice, begins on May 1.
This is the first year for the event, which was launched by La Poutine Week co-founder Na’eem Adam. He said after this year’s La Poutine Week, restaurant owners from across Canada were contacting him and asking for weeks celebrating other foods.
“We must have received dozens of emails from restaurants saying, ‘Oh, can we do another poutine week or can you do a breakfast festival? Can you do something for cupcakes?’”
Adam, who also runs a burger festival, said they settled on pizza.
The idea is simple. Participating restaurants register on the LaPizzaWeek.com website. Hungry customers can search for participating restaurants in their area and find info on a feature pizza that is offered up for La Pizza Week. Then they can vote for their favourites.
Adam said some places are offering unique creations that are only available for La Pizza Week, while others are offering special prices on their classics. He said he’s happy to see that mix of classic and experimental.
“I’ve learned over the years not to mess with a chef’s recipe,” said Adam.
Chris Iturbe of Avatara Pizza said he’s launching the Taco Fiesta pizza inspired by a trip he took to Mexico before the pandemic.
“We use hormone-free pork to marinate the pizza with Mexican spices, the same way you would marinate a taco back in Mexico,” he said.
“It’s really, really tasty. There’s a taco tomato sauce — that’s the base of the pizza — a layer of fresh mozzarella, the taco meat, we fire roast the caramelized onion for two hours in a wood-fired oven, and then we slice that and put it on top of the pizza.”
Iturbe said after being cooked in a wood-fired oven, the pizza is drizzled with a green tomato sauce and topped with fresh cilantro.
It’s the pizza he’s entering into competition, but he hopes to keep it on the menu after La Pizza Week.
He said the event is a great promotion that is much needed in these strange times.
“It’s a great way to let people know we’re still in business,” said Iturbe.
“Even though the dining room may be closed, the business is not closed.”
Other local creations include an Artichoke Pizza from Pizza Face, the “Keep Calm and Curry On” butter chicken pizza from Trolley 5, and a creation called “That’s A Spicy Meatball Pizza” from Pizza Project.
Adam said he’s heard of some strange creations from across Canada, including sushi pizza. He said regardless of what you order, it’s a chance to support local businesses.
“This is an opportunity to think of that local restaurant and order from them,” he said. “That’s really what it’s about.”