Which pizzeria delivers the best pizza in Groningen? HanzeMag’s taste team ordered fifteen Quattro Stagioni and judged them tough but fair.
Some battlefields have no winners. The floor and the tables in the house of the editor-in-chief of HanzeMag are littered with pizza boxes. The smell of meat, vegetables and dough is suffocating. We tensely watch how our only vegetarian jury member finally takes a bite from a slice of pizza that is not ‘tainted’ with meat. And how does it taste? ‘It’s okay.’
Of all the pizzas we ordered only one meets these criteria
The term Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons) seemed to conjure up the same image for all members of our sixteen-member jury: a pizza divided into four equal parts with each quarter containing a different topping, of which one is vegetarian. A quick check on Wikipedia confirms that this assumption is correct. Google also displays images of beautiful pizzas neatly divided into quarters. Precisely because of its versatile character, we chose this pizza for the test. A product with something for everyone.
It is strange that of all the pizzas we ordered only one meets these criteria. The culinary surprise of pizzeria Tuscano consists of four seasonal sections, one of which contains no meat. The rest apparently has never heard of the classification principle of the Quattro Stagioni. Some pizza chefs seem to have haphazardly thrown some ingredients on the dough. One thing is certain: not one pizza is the same.
Automatically we proclaim Tuscano Pizza the winner because of their understanding of the Quattro Stagioni principle. Graphic designer Jean-Maxim gets the honor of the first slice. As a vegetarian, he had to watch each pizza being violently chopped into sixteen pieces and served to everyone but him. Now it’s finally his turn.
A4 pages littered with grease and stained with tomato sauce
I walk around and pick up jury forms from every corner of the living room. A4 pages littered with grease and stained with tomato sauce. The table on the form contains the criteria: flavor, crunch, topping, X factor, and delivery time. As any connoisseur knows, these are all very important aspects of a home delivery pizza.
When it comes to flavor, the jury pays extra attention to the relationship between salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. With the topping we assess the quantity, quality and ratio of the toppings that were used for the product. The big question when it comes to crunch: is the crust thin and crisp, as you would expect from a good pizza?
Spanner in the works
Factor X is the personal perception of the judges during their dining experience. And last but certainly not least, the delivery time. For however delicious the pizza is, if it takes too long before it arrives, you better buy it elsewhere.
The only possible winner has a hygienic shortcoming
‘Ah no!’ We all look at the table. Juror Aron grimaces of disgust. ‘I found a hair on the pizza.’ Is he sure? ‘Yeah, look.’ He picks up a tiny hair from the pizza. We have to let the bad news sink in. What shall we do? The only possible winner has a hygienic shortcoming. There is nothing else to do then to put together a top-three consisting of the best losers.
Groningen’s best delivery pizzas
3 Piccola Roma
At first sight, the crust raises some doubts: isn’t it a bit too blackened? The Piccola Roma Quattro Stagioni is the fifth pizza to arrive. The preceding pizzas did not impress the jury one bit. The mood is deteriorating because of the prospect of a continuation of this negative trend. Understandably, expectations are low at this point, but Piccola Roma surprises. After the first bite, everyone even becomes silent for a moment. A few jurors nod with approval. ‘This is the first pizza that has a bit of a crispy bottom’, photographer Jasper Bolderdijk concludes. At the end of the night, we unfortunately have to conclude that this was the first and last pizza with a high score on crunch.
After the highlight of Piccola Roma it takes a long time before we get to taste another good pizza. The doorbell rings every few minutes and more than once three deliverymen appear at the door at the same time. Piccobello’s pizza arrives at the same time as Michelangelo’s.
Bad timing. Although the jury is sixteen man strong, everyone (except our vegetarian) already has at least ten slices of pizza in their gut. The connoisseurs hydrate their taste buds with beer and prepare themselves for yet another slice.
While the crispy crust of Piccola Roma created silence, Picobello causes loud smacking and sounds of pure pleasure. The Piccobello’s Quattro Stagioni is juicy with a good balance of vegetables and meat. The bottom is a bit squishy, according to some jurors, but this pizza’s X factor makes up for that.
After the excitement about Picobello, the jury remains largely silent again for quite some time. Pizza boxes, on which numbers are written in order of ordering, remain half full by now. Some judges just take one bite at this point. The quality of the pizzas is not impressive. Judge Leonie remains positive though. ‘At least they satisfy our hunger.’
Yes! We finally have a real Quattro Stagioni
The doorbell rings for the last time. The final four pizza delivery guys arrive at the same time. Pizzerias Regina, Amigo, Tuscano and Palermo. The first two score high on delivery time. Both arrive within twenty minutes. Palermo and Tuscano have taken their time: their pizzas arrive just within the hour.
‘Yes! We finally have a real Quattro Stagioni.’ Editor-in-Chief Chris is smiling from ear to ear. ‘Let’s hope that it tastes as good as it looks. Jean-Maxim, you have the honor to test the first vegetarian part.’
Because of the hair we find on this pizza, Tuscano cannot really be called a winner anymore. But what are our rules actually worth at this point? When you create a top 3 of best losers, the jury can turn a blind eye to a hair, right? So Tuscano’s culinary treat still arrives in first place, despite the hair, the longest delivery time and the highest price. It was all worth it!
Top 10 Pizza Test
1 Tuscano 8.5
2 Picobello 7.7
3 Piccola Roma 7.5
4 Trattoria 7.3
5 Regina 7.0
6 Rossini 6.9
7 Sanaa 6.6
8 Rimini 6.5
9 Michelangelo 6.2
10 Leonardo 6.0
Photos: Pepijn van den Broeke