A couple of weeks ago, twitter was a buzz with excited peeps retweeting a tweet from Zizzi regarding their gluten free pizza! Now I must admit I was soon a little hesitent since it was only days after the whole Dominos Pizza fiasco, where Dominos had brought out a gluten free base in the USA… but, it wasn’t suitable for coeliacs nor those with gluten sensitivities [I know, I know, what's the point!].
So considering Zizzi was trailing out their new gluten free pizza in only a few selected restaurants: Bluewater, Newcastle, Earls Court, Notting Hill and Farnham, I asked the lovely Laura Newman [Little Missed Gluten] to be my spy and ask if she’d be kind enough to write me a review of their pizza – which I may add was a glowing review and I’m not surprised. Zizzis already offers a gluten free menu for their free from fans. We already have the choice of pasta dishes and what’s more, they totally understand the issues surrounding cross contamination and bake every fresh gluten free pizza in it’s own tray!
“Since officially becoming a diagnosed coeliac in January 2012 it’s been difficult adjusting to a new diet, to reading the labels on absolutely everything and having to say no to foods I used to love. Another thing that’s been tricky is finding good restaurants which offer a selection of gluten free meals. One restaurant chain which seems to be far more coeliac friendly than others is Zizzi Ristorante, who already supply an allergen menu on request and offer all of their pasta dishes with Dove’s Farm organic gluten free pasta (having already tried this with their carbonara all I can say is yummy!).
When I heard through the social media grapevine that Zizzi were trialling a gluten free pizza I was beyond thrilled! And then I heard it was only going to be in 4 of their restaurants. Damn! I’d already consigned myself to the fact that because I live out in the sticks there was no way any of the branches near me would be participating but low and behold, Farnham (about 10 miles from where I live) was one of the chosen! What followed was massive joy, a little dance around the house, and within five minutes I’d already called my two besties to have dinner with me.
Fast-forward to a few days later and we were sat at a quaint little corner table at Farnham Zizzi being served by a lovely waitress (who definitely knew her gluten free stuff) and my pizza was ordered (I couldn’t decide on a topping so went for Quattro Stagioni which is basically a little bit of everything). I was told on arrival that the gluten free pizzas take longer to cook than the regular ones, about 20-30 minutes, so I ordered my food slightly earlier than my friends to accommodate this. I was also told that they are smaller than the regular pizzas, and so to check how much smaller my friend ordered the normal Quattro Stagioni so we could compare.
['normal' pizza at the back & gluten free pizza at the front]
20-30 minutes later, pizza time! I would say overall it was about an inch or so smaller in diameter than the regular pizza and a bit thinner but the quantity of toppings was the same so it wasn’t really a big deal. First cut, and the pizza crackled at the edge… it was crispy! I was immensely relieved as a little part of me was expecting a soggy, doughy base, but this was the total opposite. Inside the edge, the pizza base was softer, and the taste reminded me of rice noodles.
Overall the flavour was really good, and the base had the lovely, slightly stretchy consistency of a pizza, it didn’t just crumble and fall apart, phew! Even though the pizza was smaller, it was definitely enough for a meal, very tasty and very filling. Zizzi are very generous with their toppings, which went right to the edge of the base, and they didn’t slide off when you cut through it, which is always a good sign! I think the only thing I would recommend to improve the pizza is to maybe try and make the base slightly thicker, at least around the edges, but maybe that’s just a personal preference because I love pizza crusts!
Overall I would definitely recommend Zizzi gluten free pizza to fellow Coeliac’s, and I really hope they find this trial a success and roll it out across all of their restaurants soon, as I already want to go back for more! Well done Zizzi, I salute you and your gluten free pizza goodness”
Laura Newman (May 2012)