Author Topic: Pizza Porteña  (Read 272 times)

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Offline naval2006

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Pizza Porteña
« on: October 07, 2019, 10:16:30 AM »
Last weekend I went to one of the iconic pizzerias of Buenos Aires City, Las Cuartetas.   Pizza in Argentina is among the most popular dishes you can get all over the country given the strong Italian influence in our culture.

Las Cuartetas, together with another dozen pizzerias on Corrientes Avenue in downtown Buenos Aires, set up the standard for traditional pizza in my country.  It's an almost 1" thick pan pizza with tomato sauce and loads of mozzarella baked in a wood oven or special gas ovens.  Traditional wood ovens can bake from 40 to 100 pizzas at the same time.  And these pizzerias down Corrientes Avenue receive thousands of patrons daily.  Some pizza restaurants cook around 1800 pies a day, with peaks of nearly 2500 pizzas a day on weekends. 

Most of these pizzerias go back to the 1920s and 1930s and 1940s, when Italian inmigrants mostly from Genoa started selling pizza in corner shops.  Porteña pizza is nothing to do with pizza from Italy.  Most inmigrants coming to Argentina early in the 20th century escaped from war and famine and, like in the US, they came to a country with flour, cheese and tomato galore.  So the original recipes they came with were dramatically changed without any respect for tradition to make pizza a dish that could really feed people. 

The funny thing is most small shops were taken over in the 30s and 40s by Spanish inmigrants who had the expertise on the food and drinks market and turned them into instant success by turning pizza into the most popular dish in Buenos Aires and ultimately all over the country.  The Spaniards, mostly from the Asturias Province, bought pizzerias and made family business clusters that have existed since then, and they created all the pizza varieties that people eat everyday all over the country.

Argentinian pizza is meant to feed, it is not an appetizer or something to kill time.  Pizzerias in Buenos Aires all have a long history of baking pies for thousands of patrons daily.  There's even a special annual event that takes people around the most famous pizzerias in one night to try out slices from traditional pizza places; it's called La noche de las pizzerias.  Pizzerias in Buenos Aires outnumber steak houses (what Argentina is famous for is beef), and people eat so much pizza that they also sell it by the slice to eat standing up during a work break.  Pizza in my country is so loaded that you can't have it with your hands, you need fork and knife to eat a slice of hot gooey pizza. 

Here's a link to the first of a series of videos by an Italian journalist visiting Argentina to try out pizza and to get introduced to an unknown world for a man coming from traditional Neapolitan pizza.  It's in Spanish but there's a lot to see about pizzerias, how pizza is cooked and the kind of pizza we  worship.  If you happen to ask an average Argentinian about pizza they only have in mind the pizza you'll see in the video.  It's so different from vera pizza napolitana that I'm sure most people in my country would laugh at Neapolitan pizza simply because the only thing they have in common is the pie, the cheese and the tomato sauce.  You can check it out:

Offline parallei

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Re: Pizza Porteña
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2019, 11:22:13 AM »

Thanks so much for linking the video and your informative write up.

Offline Yael

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Re: Pizza Porteña
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 12:55:50 AM »
Thank you for this story! Very interesting!

I don't know if it's the Spanish atmosphere or a real souvenir, but it reminds me of some pizza I had when I was a kid in Spain!! I like the EVO-greasy Spanish food, and that on pizza can be very  :drool:
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