When the moon hits the sky

Like a big pizza pie – it’s National Pizza Day! Everyone loves this Italian favourite, whether you prefer an eat-at-home takeaway or a more relaxed evening out at your favourite pizzeria. From humble beginnings, pizza has a long history starting out as flatbreads with toppings consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks (the latter ate a version with herbs and oil, similar to today’s focaccia).

Pizzas as we know them actually originated in Italy’s Campania region, more specifically Naples, where baker Raffaele Esposito is often given credit for making the first ‘pizza pie’. Street vendors in Naples sold flatbreads with toppings for many years before then and legend has it that when Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889, having become bored of their more elaborate French cuisine, they requested a selection of local pizzas from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi, the now oldest pizzeria in Naples, founded in 1760. The variety the queen enjoyed most was called pizza mozzarella, topped with soft white cheese, red tomatoes and green basil, reflecting the colours of the Italian flag. As expected, this then became more popularly known as the Margherita pizza.

Brandi Pizzeria, Naples

Back to the Wye Valley, we have a great selection of eateries where you can enjoy a pizza at a variety of restaurants. The go-to Italian bistro in Ross-on-Wye town centre is the much loved Avellino on the High Street. As well as the usual fantastic range of Italian dishes (antipasti, calzone, pasta and risotto), the pizza menu is impressive. Serving twelve different pizzas which can also be adapted to your own personal taste, you can enjoy the traditional simplicity of the Margherita or other delicious options including the Fiorentina (spinach, egg and parmesan), the Caprino (goat’s cheese, red peppers and caramelised onions) or, for those who prefer something a little more explosive, the Etna or Piccante are packed with flavours including garlic, chilli, spicy pepperoni or salami and chilli oil. Open 7 days a week, you can call Avellino on 01989 769222 to reserve your table – takeaways also available.

Avellino Restaurant [Photos: Caz Holbrook Photography]

If you’re looking for a takeaway pizza, the longstanding and iconic Pan Pizza is the go to for many locals in Ross. Owner, Mo, freshly prepares all his pizzas and there is a huge range on offer plus a multitude of meal deals. With nearly 20 varieties of pizza you won’t be disappointed including vegetarian, seafood and meat pizzas as well as burgers, chicken and a variety of sides. Open 7 days a week, call 01989 562288 to order. Pronto’s on Broad Street is also another local favourite Italian takeaway offering a wide range of pizzas and other takeaway favourites – order online or telephone 01989 218093 – or try The Best at the bottom of Brookend Street which is open until late – call 01989 566788.

For a top quality artisan pizzas, local PB’s Pizza, is open on Fridays and Saturdays. The bases are to die for and owner, Peter, has worked hard to create the ultimate hand made pizzas using only the finest ingredients as well as his own ‘PB’s Signature Tomato Base’. On the menu you’ll find the Plain Jane (just tomatoes) and The Classic (parmesan and latte mozzarella), The Meaty (salami and chicken), The Ocean (capers, anchovies and tuna), The Veggie (mushrooms, peppers & olives) or The Vegan made with vegan cheese. PB’s is also the only takeaway pizza company in Ross to offer wine, beer or Prosecco with your order – the perfect accompaniment to your at home takeaway night in.

PB’s Pizza

Just outside of Ross, you’ll find the wonderful Yew Tree pub based in Peterstow which is the home of one of the best local cider makers in the area and also Chiara’s Pizza Kitchen (CPK). Serving their incredible Neapolitan pizzas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 5pm to 8pm, you can enjoy one of their unique recipes such as N’duja Wanna Get Pickled made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozarella, nduja (a spicy, spreadable salami from southern Italy), pickled pink onions and fresh chilli or the Blue Shroom white pizza, with mozarella, pecorino, blue cheese, mushrooms, rosemary and sea salt. What better way to start the weekend, washed down with one of their delicious ciders of the month? Call 01989 562815 or email yewtree@rosscider.com.

Chiara’s Pizza Kitchen, The Yew Tree, Peterstow