It’s fair to say I’m a bit of a pizza fanatic. Some of my friends wonder if I even eat anything else (I do.)
For years I have longed to go to Italy and eat their pizza. With the taste of that glorious pizza I had in Germany (this must be the 6000th time I’ve mentioned it now) fresh in my memory, I wanted to find out if Italy could beat it.
With my constant waffling about the German pizza, I think we’re all aware of how high the standards are. I was confident that Italy, the birthplace of pizza, would have no problem kicking German pizza’s butt.
I was wrong.
During my trip to Italy I ate four pizzas at different ‘restaurants’ (that’s a term I use loosely and you’ll see why soon.) I wasn’t overly-impressed with any of them.
First the was a pizza from a restaurant in Lake Como which was pretty bland and forgettable (Yes, I describe some pizzas as forgettable like a song.)
Secondly there was the pizza in my hotel. Now you might be saying ‘well what did you expect?’ What I expected was a delicious pizza. I’ve stayed in a few IBIS hotels this year and the one in Spain and Germany made very nice pizza. This one did not.
In fact, it was microwave pizza. Can you believe that’s even legal in Italy?
My IBIS pizza was an insult to Italy and pizza. The base was soggy, the tomato sauce was bitter and there was not enough cheese. It sucked. It also cost me €8.50! €8.50 for a crap pizza. The glorious German pizza only cost €7! Why not just slap me in the face?
The third was from McDonald’s. It wasn’t really a pizza, it was more like a calzonne. I think it was called a pizzarotto. It was alright but didn’t taste of much.
The fourth was actually the best pizza I had all week, though it wasn’t great. It was a slice of pizza that had probably been sat out for hours from LIDL.
My Italian pizza experience was disappointing and Germany is the clear winner here. If you’re planning to go to Italy for pizza, don’t. Go to Im Alten Zollhaus in Aachen, Germany – it’s not that far, it’ll take you about eight hours by car.
You would think I would find the world’s best pizza in Italy since it’s an Italian dish, but no. In Aachen, Germany, I found the best pizza in the world. I haven’t visited every country in the world but in my 22 years I’ve eaten a lot of pizza and this blew all the others out the water so I’m confident in telling you, this is the best pizza ever.
A few doors up from our hotel was a pub called Im Alten Zollhaus. It looked quite modern on the outside but once you get in through the doors it was like walking back in time.
I don’t know if it’s what a traditional German pub looks like because we didn’t go in any others – after four mouthfuls we decided we were going to eat in that pub all week. But it felt like it should be a traditional German pub.
The only way I can try to explain it is if you’ve ever been in an old English pub with wooden floor, beams in the ceiling, old tins and bits and bobs on the walls and wooden tables.
I thought about taking a picture in there but it just seemed wrong, if that makes sense. Smartphones just didn’t seem to belong in that place. It was about sitting down with good friends, eating amazing food, sampling German beer and laughing so hard it hurt.
I dined off their phenomenal (I don’t use that word lightly) pizza all week, and my goodness they were easily the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten. The cheese on the top was like grilled cheese on toast cheese.
You don’t just have to take my word for it, a couple of my friends had pizza too and loved it. Their schnitzel and currywurst was apparently amazing, but being a vegetarian I wouldn’t know.
I’m genuinely concerned that any other pizza I eat will be a disappointment. In fact, the pizza was that good I would go back to Aachen just for that pizza.