April 26, 2013 |

The hottest ingredients for 2013

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

2013 May: THE IN CROWD

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler Managing Editor
Photos by Josh Keown

Today’s pizzeria customers are savvier than ever thanks in part to a growing trend in upscale options. Sure, pepperoni and cheese are still king in this industry, but customers looking for fresh, organic and locally grown toppings now have more choices than ever. Add in the rise of Neapolitan and artisan focuses, and the pizza scene has grown into a competitive landscape. We talked to 10 pizzeria operators across the country to find out the hottest new toppings for 2013 –– and how to use them.



38ITK04Ingredient: Quail eggs
Pairs with: crispy soppressata, roasted potatoes, arugula

“They are perfect for Neapolitan pizza ovens because you can crack them on the pizza going in and they cook to a perfect over easy in 75 seconds.”

-Jay Jerrier, owner of Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum, Texas


38ITK02Ingredient: Sweet Piquanté Peppers

Pairs with: goat cheese, pancetta, escarole, mozzarella

“The flavor and usage of peppadews is like no other topping. They are sweet, spicy, sour and tart. These peppers can pair with almost anything and can be applied fresh, whole, halved, stuffed, quartered, sautéed and come in different colors. It’s one of the most flavorful universal toppings I have ever used.”

– Tony Gemignani, owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, California, and Pizza Rock in Sacramento, California

38ITK03Ingredient: Kimchi

Pairs with: provolone, onions, peppers, teriyaki, cashews, chicken, sausage

“We have captured the Asian market in this college town with this ingredient. It’s also funny to see some of the country folk around here order ‘that Kill-chee…Mim-chee…dag gum…just put some of dat spicy Chinese stuff on my pizza!’ ” Har har … it’s Korean!”

– John Gutekanst, owner of Avalanche Pizza in Athens, Ohio


38ITK05Ingredient: Hot soppressata

Pairs with: Grana Padano cheese, cherry tomatoes

“It’s the new upscale pepperoni. It has a little bit of kick to it and it offsets the freshness of the cherry tomatoes. The customers have really been taken aback by it and just love it.”

– Chris Lombardi, partner at New Jersey-based Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza & Bar


38ITK06Ingredient: fried chicken livers

Pairs with: super thin sliced lemon, Calabrian chili, olive oil, garlic & mozzarella

“Chicken livers have always been a favorite for me –– along with pizza. I love the texture and the mineral-ity of livers. We use livers from Plum Creek Farm in Burchard, Nebraska. The chickens are free range, antibiotic free, all natural, etc., which makes for super delicious livers!”

– Nick Stawhecker, chef/owner of Dante Ristorante Pizzeria in Omaha, Nebraska


38ITK07Ingredient: roast pumpkin

Pairs with: salty ingredients, especially prosciutto, feta cheese or spicy sausage

“Our two most popular pizzas both contain roast pumpkin. … We have a vegetarian pizza, which we use roast pumpkin, roasted garlic, spinach, feta zucchini and roasted bell pepper. The combination of flavors is perfect and people love it. It also looks amazing with the array of colors.”

– Adam Borich, owner of Lucifer’s Pizza in Los Angeles, California


38ITK09Ingredient: Pistachio cream; walnut & pine nut cream

Pairs with: Pistachios go well with sweet Italian sausage & fresh mozzarella, while walnut and pine nut cream pairs well with coal-roasted zucchini and bufala mozzarella

“These flavors are one of our most popular new additions to our menu. They are delicate, yet flavorful. (They are) versatile and are not limited to traditional uses. Nuts make an exceptional and unexpected base for pizzas!”

-Mark Dym, owner of Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza in Denver, Colorado


2013 May: THE IN CROWDIngredient: smoked duck breast

Pairs with: gorgonzola, figs, walnuts, pistachios, red onion and pear

“We have a little smoker to house-smoke the duck breast in the wood oven. We then slice it paper thin.”

– Dave Brackett, owner of Pizzeria Rustica in Colorado Springs, Colorado


Ingredient: Conciato Romano

Pairs with: sugna, crushed black pepper, fresh basil, fresh oregano, extra virgin olive oil and fresh figs

“I was introduced to this cheese by the Lombardi family of the Agriturismo Le Campestre in Castel di Sasso, Italy. The cheese itself is considered one of the oldest cheeses in Europe dating 2,000 years to the time of the Roman Legions. It’s an aged sheep’s milk pecorino (six months to two years), and the pie itself (the Schiacciatta di Cinque Cento) is the creation of Franco Pepe of the pizzeria Pepe in Grani in Caiazzo, Italy. I love this cheese because it honors tradition and the artisinal process.”

– Jonathan Goldsmith, owner of Spacca Napoli Pizzeria in Chicago, Illinois

38ITK13Ingredient: D’Anjou Pears

Pairs with: French brie, arugula, prosciutto, apricot-chili drizzle

“After 22 years in business we have a new No. 1 selling pizza: pear and Brie. Times have changed since the days of pepperoni and mushroom!”

– Peter Danis, owner of Figlio Wood Fired Pizza in Columbus, Ohio