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Five Global Flavours: Cambridge’s best pizza (and flatbread) places

One Two Culinary Stew blogger Pina Broccoli Anaia has been making the Cambridge food scene a tastier place for 10 years. In her regular column for Velvet, she takes us on a world food tour. . . right on our doorstep. On the menu this month: pizzas and flatbreads

When we think of baked dough with toppings, our thoughts might turn to glorious pizza. It’s one of the most popular foods eaten around the world. Naples is known as the birthplace of pizza but its long and complex history can be traced back further than Italy. Flatbreads with toppings were consumed in ancient Mediterranean civilisations. In mid-1700s Naples, pizza was street food for poor people.
Italian pizza was then popularised in 1889 when Neapolitan chef Raffaele Esposito made it for King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. Legend has it that his creation, featuring the colours of the Italian flag – green basil, white mozzarella and red tomatoes – was named the Margherita when the Queen gave her royal approval to the peasant food.
Today there are countless influences for pizzas and flatbreads, not only throughout Italy but also worldwide. An example of this culinary voyage is the infamous Hawaiian pizza with its pineapple and ham toppings, invented in Canada by a Greek-Canadian restaurateur in 1962.
Fabulous foods featuring baked dough with toppings – pizzas, flatbreads and dishes similar to pizza – are steeped in their own rich history and heritage. Here are five places in Cambridge proudly putting this tasty combo on the menu.

Giovannis Caffe Pizzeria - Credit Elisa Orani - @myfoodiedays
Giovannis Caffe Pizzeria - Credit Elisa Orani - @myfoodiedays

Giovanni’s Caffè and Pizzeria
Neapolitan pizza’s soft, elastic and easily foldable crust makes it truly unique. The charred cornicione (outer crust) forms a crispy yet chewy rim around the edges and the molten area in the middle is where the toppings come together. This thin, slightly wet centre is a characteristic of the real Neapolitan deal. The floppy pizza slices can be eaten with a knife and fork, or with your hands by folding the sides upward and tucking in the tip to trap all the succulent toppings.
Giovanni’s Caffè and Pizzeria in Cambridge comes with a view of their pizzaiolo performing the art of Neapolitan-style pizza: hand-stretching the dough into a circle, adding flavourful toppings and sliding the pizza into the wood-fired oven to bake it at a very high temperature. Their mouth-watering toppings range from the classic Margherita trio to gourmet ingredients like figs, handpicked flowers, pistachios, n’duja and burrata – with or without a tomato sauce base.

Signorellis La Piazza - Credit Signorelli's Deli - Scrocchiarella UK
Signorellis La Piazza - Credit Signorelli's Deli - Scrocchiarella UK

Signorelli’s Deli and La Piazza
Delightfully crisp Roman pizza originated in the bakeries of Rome as a way to use up leftover bread dough. It takes its shape from the long, narrow wooden paddles used by the bakers. Renowned for its crispiness – prominently described as scrocchiarella in Italian – Roman pizza is light and easily digestible with a satisfying crunch. The pizza lies uniformly flat and its abundant toppings go right to the edges.
Cambridge’s celebrated Signorelli’s Deli and its La Piazza street food trailer specialise in scrumptious Roman-style pizza. With quality ingredients imported from Italy, such as cured meats (speck, salami, prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta), fragrant cheeses (Gorgonzola, Taleggio, Provola, Ricotta Salata, Grana Padano) and nourishing vegetables (artichokes, mushrooms, aubergines, tomatoes), Signorelli’s offer a delectable variety of pizza toppings. The word scrocchiarella (pronounced “skro-kia-rella”) may be a mouthful but so is every bite of their delicious crispy pizza!

Scott's All Day - Credit @one2culinarystew
Scott's All Day - Credit @one2culinarystew

Scott’s All Day
Detroit-style pizza is named after the city in Michigan, USA where it was developed over 75 years ago. With an abundance of automotive plants in Detroit (hence its Motor City moniker), the pizzas were originally baked in their rectangular, somewhat squarish, steel drip pans. The result? An iconic-shaped deep pizza with a thick, crisp, chewy crust and a unique layering structure where the cheese and toppings sit below the sauce.
Mill Road neighbourhood joint Scott’s All Day has perfected Detroit-style pizza in Cambridge, investing in the specially designed deep, flared pans. These ensure that their mozzarella and Cheddar mix reaches the edges and caramelises against the high-sided pan, producing those legendary crunchy, cheesy corners. From the classic tomato-saucy Red Top to the award-winning Pepperoni & Hot Honey – and even Ham & Pineapple – Scott’s menu offers five kinds of Detroit-style pizzas, three of which can be made vegan.

Amelie Restaurants - Credit @one2culinarystew
Amelie Restaurants - Credit @one2culinarystew

Amélie Restaurants
Amélie are regaling Cambridge with flam-kuche – their yeast-free, mega-thin rectangular flatbread layered with seasoned crème fraîche, or rich tomato sauce, and fresh toppings. It’s baked quickly in a very hot oven until crisp. Also dubbed “skinny pizza” due to its super-thin base, flam-kuche is Amélie’s take on flammekueche or tarte flambée, a centuries-old dish from the Alsace region of what is now France, that borders Switzerland and Germany (where it’s called flammkuchen). German farmers from Alsace, Baden and the Palatinate baked bread in their wood-fired ovens and tested the temperature with a thin piece of dough, which eventually evolved into this speciality.
Traditional flammekueche consists of fromage blanc, sliced onions and smoked bacon lardons but Amélie have adapted the concept with a tantalising range of toppings: Salmon Fillet & Avocado, Goat’s Cheese & Beetroot, Pulled Pork & Hoisin and more. Their sweet version with Apple & Cinnamon is the perfect culmination to this flam feast!

Botany Foodie - Credit @one2culinarystew
Botany Foodie - Credit @one2culinarystew

Botany Foodie
Lahmacun is a very thin, round Middle Eastern flatbread spread with a layer of minced meat (lamb or beef) mixed with finely chopped vegetables, fresh herbs and earthy spices. The word (pronounced “lah-ma-jun”) is derived from the Arabic lahm bi ajeen, meaning “meat with dough”. Lahmacun is sometimes referred to as pizza to give it familiarity, but it falsely suggests an Italian ancestry when its origins can be traced back to the Levant region. It has alternative names reflecting its many wonderful national, regional and cultural variations.
Botany Foodie, the delightful Turkish café on Cambridge’s Mill Road, make their flavourful lahmacun with an aromatic, well-spiced mixture of minced beef, onion, red pepper, tomato and parsley. Their thin flatbread is slightly crisp on the bottom to make it easy to roll, as lahmacun is traditionally topped with salad and eaten like a wrap. It pairs perfectly with a refreshing Ayran yoghurt drink.

For more reviews and recommendations, follow @one2culinarystew or visit onetwoculinarystew.com

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