Montrealers to get a slice of cheesy heaven with first ever La Pizza Week

The folks who brought us Poutine Week and Burger Week are back with another reason to get your exercise in early.

La Pizza Week is a national initiative to support local restaurants struggling through the pandemic. By putting original recipes in the spotlight, the organizers hope you’ll have to urge to get some slices.

“The idea is the restaurants come up with something special at a special price, if they can," said co-organizer Na'eem Adam.

Pizza Week runs from May 1 to 7. Adam said he wants to whet Montrealers' appetites with limited time offers “for that week alone, so it's a unique offering during La Pizza Week.”

The lure is to offer original combinations to stir people’s curiosity. "We want people to go and try these new flavours," said Adam.

Over at Slice & Soda on St-Paul West in Old Montreal, Bruno Barreca is tossing pizza dough circles in the air to expand their circumference. His colleague Gabriel rolls and spanks the dough with flour while humming a tune. Across Canada, 1,000 pizza places like this one have joined in the Pizza Week plan. Slice & Soda created a Portuguese themed pie called CR7, named after the famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo and his jersey #7.

“This will give you that nice smokiness," said Barreca as he layered smoked cheese on a pizza that also has chorizo sausage, grilled peppers and mozzarella. He then popped the pizza into the oven for seven minutes at 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

This location of Slice and Soda opened just months before the world changed.

“I feel for a lot of restauranteurs that, unfortunately, didn't have a business model that adapted very easily to the pandemic," said Barreca. "We were lucky enough, in the sense that our business was already based on take-out.”

When asked about crowd favourites, Barreca said almost anything goes on a pizza.

"Variety makes things more interesting. Different ideas spur the economy and that spurs the industry.”

Over at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, The Marché Artisans in the lobby had people waiting for a fresh, out of the oven, handmade pizza. Toppings like crème fraiche and pesto are surprising and apparently delicious, judging by the line-up.

Scott Philipps is the Pizza Chef here, or “Pizzaiolo." Demonstrating the steps to creating a perfectly rustic pizza, Philipps said “not too much sauce” to start. The he layers on mozzarella cheese, copa and Italian types of charcuterie and artichokes.

“I keep moving the dough on the counter so it doesn’t stick, I have to work fast," he said. He then sprinkles his pizza paddle with semolina before sliding the pizza into a high heat oven for four minutes.

“We decided to join the week in order to feature one of our pizzas,” said Michele Guzzo, Marketing Director at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel. “It's not your basic pepperoni pizza. It’s a delicious copa & artichoke pizza."

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