Friday, October 13, 2017

#FoodPornFriday - Just what is Windsor Style Pizza?

A Large Meatlovers from Capri Pizza

Today I have a practical #FoodPornFriday post all about Windsor Style Pizza.

A Queen take out Pizza
from Windsor Pizza
Nine times out of ten when I post a picture of Windsor Style Pizza and mention that I'm having/enjoying Windsor Style Pizza I will get at least one comment asking what exactly Windsor Style Pizza means. I've answered that question now at least 20 times, maybe as many as 50 times. It doesn't matter how often I answer it, I'm certain that the next time I post a picture of Windsor Pizza on some social media site someone is going to ask me: What's Windsor Style Pizza.

So that's why today's #FoodPornFriday post exists. So that the next time someone asks me this question I can just provide them with a link to this blog post. Instead of typing out the same answer over and over I will just have to share this link. So let's get to it:

What is Windsor Style Pizza?


Small 2x Cheese Peperoni Sausage
from Armando's
Though it seems many people don't believe it, Pizza in Windsor Ontario is unique. Most people have heard of Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza or New York style pizza. Some people have even heard of Detroit Style Pizza (it's square). But it seems that Windsor Style pizza is something only people from Windsor or people who have been to Windsor know about. 

Now that's starting to change. If you Google Windsor Style pizza you will find quite a few articles. There's a great one titled How Did Pizza Become One of Windsor, Ontario's Hottest Exports? and another great one about Volcano Pizza titled: Volcano Pizzeria: A look into one of Windsor's most famous pizza palaces. Check them out if you have time. 

Volcano is where the whole thing started. It was the first pizza place in Windsor and it set the standard for everything that came afterward. Every single 2nd generation pizza place (many of which are still around to this day) owe their success to Volcano and most of them were opened by previous employees of Windsor's first Pizzeria. 

There are many places in Windsor where you can still get Windsor Style Pizza. Armandos, Franco's, Koolinis, Acrata, Capri, Antoninos, Riverside, Roma's, Rivera, Naples, Sam's, Winsor Pizza and probably 20 more I'm forgetting about. Personally, my favorites are Windsor Pizza, Capri, Antonino's, and Armando's. 

What makes Windsor Pizza Special?

Medium Bacon and Scallop pizza
from Sam's
Windsor Style Pizza has a thicker doughy crust that should be crusty on the bottom but soft in the middle. This is middle thickness, not deep dish at all but not the flat style you see at many wood oven places. The sauce is a spicy sweet arabiata style. Differing levels of sweet and spicy are one of the main things that set various Windsor pizzerias apart. Toppings go on top of the cheese never under (sometimes if you get extra cheese that goes on top, usually part way through cooking). 

There are a few idiosyncrasies in regards to ingredients. Pepperoni (often just called sausage, whereas what most people would call sausage can be found as Italian Sausage on many menus) is sliced, never full circles. Sausage (Italian Sauage) is a local brand that is usually small balls and rather fennely. Mushrooms are canned and are usually Success brand. Vegetables and other meats are usually roughly cubed. Additional fennel and sometimes oregano can be found either in the sauce or sprinkled on top (some places like Antonino's have shakers for you to add your own once you get your pie).

The pies themselves are oven baked. I personally have no idea if there's such a thing as a Windsor Style Pizza oven, or if all pizza places use the same style but I do know that pretty much every place I stop in for pick up has similar looking ovens. The important part though is that they use an oven, the whole wood-fired thing, while good, isn't Windsor Style. 

Random slices from Koolini's
The biggest Windsor Pizza secret for years was the cheese. The mozzarella comes from a local shop called Galati Cheese Company Ltd. This was an industry secret for a long time and was what caused many "Windsor Style Pizza" places that opened out of town in London or Toronto to fail. They had the recipes from the Windsor places but couldn't get exactly the same ingredients. Now the Galati secret is out and you can now see all Windsor Pizza places with signs stating "Proudly serving Galati cheese" prominently displayed.

So yes, Windsor Style Pizza is a thing. A big thing for the people who love it. If you don't belive me just check out this article: Sask. couple orders beloved Windsor pizza for long-distance Super Bowl delivery, where a Sask. couple paid $140 to have an Arcata pizza flown out there for their Super Bowl Party.

Note not every pizza place in Windsor does Windsor Style Pizza. May people consider the Caboto Club to have the best pizza in town and it's a thin crust wood fired style pizza. One of the best pizzas I've had comes from the newly opened Downtown Pizza Co and they also don't serve Windsor Style. I just wrote about their pies last week

2 comments:

  1. What a well written description of Windsor Style Pizza. I can see why it is different from other pizza. The specifics of crust and cheese and chopping of toppings in a certain way, knowing the pepperoni and sausage and cheese are certain types and cheese then toppings....you have sold me on this style of pizza. Debbie from Kitchener ON

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    1. Awesome. It's one of those things that, to me, is a bit hard to describe as I'm from Windsor, I grew up on Windsor Style Pizza. To me this is normal. It's taken a while to realize some of the differences and what makes it unique (and so good).

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