Pizza—which is described as a flat, round bread that's typically baked and topped with a tomato sauce and various toppings—was said to have been first tasted in Naples, Italy. (Some accounts claim the Persians were the the real pizza kings.) These days, the various versions of the pie can be found practically all over the world.
Pinoys and pizza
Filipinos have most definitely included pizza on their roster of go-to fastfoods. Pizza and soda can co-exist on a table alongside adobo and pancit.
Many food establishments in the country (both homegrown and foreign) have helped make pizza a local favorite by introducing flavors that appeal to Pinoy palate. One of those establishments is California Pizza Kitchen (CPK).
Archie Rodriguez—president and CEO of Global Restaurants Inc. (GRCI), CPK’s local partner—observed, “Filipinos have always been pizza lovers. As foodies, Pinoys have grown mature. We have been exposed to global flavours and are willing to try new dishes. This inspires us to create something extraordinary out of simple ingredients, adding to it the same familiar California twist."
CPK, which has headquarters in Los Angeles, has been in the Philippines for 16 years.
A day for pizza
In a bid to amp up the popularity of pizza in the Philippines, CPK declared August 15 as National Pizza Day in the Philippines. This year marks just its second National Pizza Day. It may not be an official holiday, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come with a special treat for pizza lovers.
Free pizza promo in all CPK branches
For National Pizza Day, CPK is giving away free pizza from a selection of five new limited edition pies for every order of a regular or thin crust pizza. The "celebration pies" are the following: Untraditional Cheese Pizza, Garlic Chicken Pizza, Hawaiian Pizza, Wild Mushroom and Caprese Pizza.
The tasty Untraditional Cheese Pizza is made from Mozzarella, fresh Mozzarella and tomato sauce.
The savory Garlic Chicken Pizza is topped with roasted garlic, grilled chicken, sweet caramelized onions, fresh Mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, slivered scallions and crushed black pepper.
The delicious Hawaiian Pizza deviates from the traditional style served in other pizza hubs as it’s topped with Canadian bacon and slivered scallions alongside the classic Mozzarella, tomato sauce and pineapple bits.
The sumptuous Wild Mushroom Pizza has Shiitake, Abalone and white mushrooms alongside garlic olive oil, slivered scallions and Mozzarella, Romano and Parmesan cheese.
The delectable Caprese, a pizza topped with Basil Cashew Pesto, cherry tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella and topped with fresh basil leaves and Grana Padano Parmesan.
Aside from the free pizza, diners can also enjoy refillable Coca-Cola for only P50. All five pizza selections will be served exclusively on National Pizza Day and will not be on CPK’s regular menu. The promo is valid in all CPK branches.
Sharing a pizza recipe
If you're a pizza purist and would like to make your pie from scratch, you may consider trying CPK's very own recipe.
While dining in or ordering out is a convenient option, it is possible make restaurant-quality pizza in your own home, says Gabriel Sinohuiz, California Pizza Kitchen’s VP of International Brand Development.
This recipe is adapted from the California Pizza Kitchen Family Cookbook by Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (not “quick rise” type)
1 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
1 ½ cups unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and stir by hand to distribute. Add the dissolved yeast and place the bowl and paddle on the stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Start mixing on the lowest speed to mix. Increase the speed slightly and mix for 2 to 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Be careful not to over-knead, as this will build up too much gluten and make the dough difficult to shape.)
3. Place the remaining teaspoon of oil in a 1-quart mixing bowl and spread it with your fingertips. Place the dough ball in the bowl, move it around the oil, then turn it over so that the oiled side is facing upward. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
4. Punch the dough down, re-shape it into a ball, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight; this will develop a more flavorful dough with a chewier consistency.
5. About 2 hours before you are ready to assemble your pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator. If making individual pizzas, use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 2 or 4 equal portions.
6. Roll each portion of dough into a round ball on a smooth, clean surface, making sure to seal any holes by pinching or rolling.
7. Place the newly formed dough in a glass baking dish, spaced far enough apart to allow for each to double in size. Seal the top of the dish with clear plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature until the dough balls have doubled in size, about 2 hours. They should be smooth and puffy.
8. Dress the pizza according to the recipe.
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Image credits: All pizza food shots are courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen