31 July 2009

Friday Night Slice, from Africa

Friday Night Slice has been on hiatus throughout July, but will return next week continuing on our quest to find the best pizza in Middle Tennessee.

I took a break from the blogging as I traveled to Kenya to work with children in Kitui and in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.

During my stay in Kenya, I was served many local dishes (rice, kale, potato, roots, pumpkin leaves and other things), but pizza is not a commonly served dish.

Around Nairobi, there are several "Pizza Inn" take-out and delivery locations (unrelated to the American franchisee) that serve a wide variety of pizzas with unique topping combinations - a popular one, interestingly, is the barbecue pork pizza. But where I was able to order a slice of pizza towards the end of my trip was in the upscale Westgate Centre on the west side of town.

The pizza was a rustic, farmhouse-style pie baked in rectangular metal pans inside large electric ovens. The crust was good; it had a very average doughy flavor with a heavy dusting of flour where it was hand-rolled and pushed into the pan. The sauce was very distinct and while it was a thick, tomato-based sauce, it had spices that my palette was unable to identify. Overall, it was somewhat sweet with very earthy flavors and a little tiny bit of heat. Pepperoni was not a topping option (prosciutto, mushrooms, spinach and broccoli are the most commonly chosen), so I simply went with cheese. Like the Italians, these Kenyan chefs used a thick, creamy buffalo mozzarella. All of the buffalo mozzarella that I've tasted in the past (primarily on pizzas throughout central and Northern Italy) has a rich, buttery taste. The cheese on this pizza had the rich, complex flavor that I would expect, but it was a little more on the sour side and a lot heavier on the salt than I enjoy. Thankfully, I was not in Kenya for the pizza.

I had an extraordinary trip, but am glad to be home with my family and will get back to talking pizza with you again very soon!

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Coming Soon - Brothers' Pizza Company in Franklin, Mineo's Wings, Pizza and Raw Bar in Cool Springs and more!


Travelgurl said...

I spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, first training in Kitui and then a site in Nyanza Province. Let me tell you, after awhile, Pizza Inn and its Terrific Tuesdays were a godsend. Now, I never figured out what Macon was (and had stopped caring at that point), but if I happened to be in the big city on a Tuesday, it would be terrific (back in 2007 it was buy one get one free). Yes, the pizza is not American, but when there is no end in sight to your stay, it is delicious. Now that I am an east Nashvillian, I love Castrillos, but some days, miss the joy that a coveted trip to Pizza Inn brought me.

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