Who bakes the tastiest Pizza in Limburg? These are the finalists (Food & Drink)

Pizzeria Rocco Cagliostro in Genk

The story of pizzaiolo Rocco Cagliostro reads like a movie script. He learned to bake pizza in his grandfather’s kitchen and on his thirteenth birthday wished that he would become a pizza baker. Minutes after he blew out the candles on his birthday cake, his aunt died of a brain haemorrhage right before his eyes. “I thought for a long time that my aunt’s death was my fault,” Rocco says. “I suffered from anxiety attacks, even at a later age. To overcome that, I held on to my dream: to become a pizza baker.”

“I thought for a long time that my aunt’s death was my fault,” says pizzaiolo Rocco Cagliostro. — © Luc Daelemans

How often do you eat pizza? “Rarely, just like a friturist doesn’t eat fries that often.”

Best pizza on the menu? “Pizza Calabrese with tomato sauce, fior di lattespicy sausage, ‘nduja (very spicy spread, ed.), tomatoes and basil.”

Pizza Hawaii?Not done! I only give in when children ask for pineapple.”

Pizzeria Rocco Cagliostro, Onderwijslaan 74 in Genk. Info: www.pizzeria-rocco-cagliostro.business.site/

Il Sottereano in Genk

Il Sotterreaneo, in Dutch ‘the underground’, is a pizzeria a stone’s throw from the Waterschei coal mine. Very young pizza baker Mirco Polo chose the name not by chance: “The underground refers both to the location of our business in the basement of my parental home and to my grandfather who was a miner.”

Mirco started the pizzeria as a student entrepreneur. “I still have to finish a few subjects, but the business is now my main profession. To attract customers, I use thoughtful social media campaigns. There are few pizzerias with well-developed social media channels and that is something I learned during my studies.”

Helping hand Stefano Minzoni, manager Mirco Polo and his friend Chiara Meloni. — © Boumediene Belbachir

How often do you eat pizza? “Sunday evening is our regular pizza evening at home, but it usually doesn’t stop there.”

Best pizza on your card? “The Pizza Da Nonno, after a recipe from Puglia, the region where my grandfather comes from. The pizza is topped with buffalo mozzarella, turnip greens and artisanal pork sausage.”

Pizza Hawaii? “It is not on our menu, but it is possible: the customer is king.”

Il Sottereano in Genk, Haneveldstraat 19 in Genk. Info: www.ilsoterraneo.be

Tartufo Italian Foodbar in Zonhoven

Linda Borletti focuses on pizza with her husband Ivano Scarpitte contemporarya, or contemporary pizza. “It is a recipe that combines tradition and innovation: a mix of the traditional Neapolitan school and the classic Italian pizza.”

To master this authentic pizza with a modern twist, Linda followed various courses. “In 2017 I obtained my diploma as a chef and then went to Italy to train as a pizza baker.”

Linda Borletti and her husband Ivano Scarpitte focus on pizza contemporanea.

Linda Borletti and her husband Ivano Scarpitte focus on pizza contemporanea. — © Raymond Lemmens

How often do you eat pizza? “When the restaurant is open, we eat a piece every day.”

Best pizza on the menu? “The Pizza Chef with fior di lattepurple sweet potato cream, pancetta, burrata, fresh basil, semi-sun-dried cherry tomatoes and purple sweet potato chips.”

Pizza Hawaii? “Customers can order pineapple with their pizza, but we don’t put it on it ourselves and we don’t call the pizza ‘Pizza Hawaii’, but Pizza Fai Da Te which means ‘Pizza DIY’. So we serve the pineapple in a jar.”

Tartufo Italian Foodbar, Molenweg 77 in Zonhoven. Info: www.tartufoitalianfoodbar.be

“Customers can order pineapple with their pizza, but we don't put it on it ourselves, nor do we call the pizza 'Pizza Hawaii'”.

“Customers can order pineapple with their pizza, but we don’t put it on it ourselves, nor do we call the pizza ‘Pizza Hawaii’”. — © RR

Pizza Da Manu in Pelt

It was his wife Nathalie who gave Emanuele Padovani the last push to open a pizzeria. “Together with my right-hand man Claudio Cairo I started a mobile pizzeria five years ago. The pizzas we baked at weddings and birthday parties were very popular. Last year, my wife, who already had a sandwich shop, convinced me to open a restaurant in the residential part of the building. So we moved to another house especially to get a trattoria with pasta and pizza.”

It was his wife Nathalie who gave Emanuele Padovani the last push to open a pizzeria.

It was his wife Nathalie who gave Emanuele Padovani the last push to open a pizzeria. — © Luc Daelemans

How often do you eat pizza? “Not a full pizza, but still several pieces a week.”

Best pizza on the menu? “The Pizza Parma and Arugula: delicious and beautiful thanks to the Italian tricolor that is incorporated.”

Pizza Hawaii? “I have no problem making Pizza Hawaii, but you won’t find them on the menu.”

Pizza Da Manu, Ringlaan 75 in Pelt. Info: www.pizzadamanu.be

© Luc Daelemans

Da Maria in Maaseik

Maria Ricceri calls her pizzeria a hobby that got out of hand. “When I lost my job six years ago, my husband Giuseppe encouraged me to turn my passion into my profession. We both have Italian roots and love good food and cooking. My son Diego and daughter Chiara also participate. If you want, you can stay in our restaurant for dinner, but in a very homely atmosphere. There is one large table where customers can settle in. We want to be a big Italian family.”

Maria Ricceri: “There is one large table where customers can settle in. We want to be a big Italian family.”

Maria Ricceri: “There is one large table where customers can settle in. We want to be a big Italian family.” — © Bart Borgerhoff

How often do you eat pizza? “We eat a lot of pizzas! At least three or four times a week, under the guise of ‘testing new products’.”

Best pizza on the menu? “Our house pizza Maria de Dornewith tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, bacon and salsiccia fresca. A kind of farmer’s pizza as a reference to the farming village in which we live.”

Pizza Hawaii? “A Pizza Hawaii is not made with us. Our customers know that we stick to traditional recipes.”

Da Maria, Randstraat 2 in Maaseik. Info: www.pizzapastadamaria.business.site

© Bart Borgerhoff

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