It’s easy enough to enjoy a fantastic slice of pizza—making one is an entirely different story. We asked the best pizza joints in town to divulge their recipe for the perfect pizza. Oven Lovin’ Piccolo Pizzeria’s secret to creating the perfect pizza? A well maintained gas oven, which branch manager Ben Ho describes as the “soul of the restaurant.” Authentic pizzas should be cooked within three to four minutes, he adds, stressing that Piccolo’s house-style is Rome-inspired. The pizzeria’s two-ton gas oven can reach up to temperatures of 400 degrees Celsius so the heat can be retained for much longer. Moreover, no two ovens are alike, and Piccolo’s real brick model must be immaculately maintained and well used in order to retain the signature flavor of the pies. Their dough is also made to the right thickness and is then proofed in the chiller 24 hours beforehand, so that diners will never be given dough that has not been previously fermented. A must-try is Piccolo’s White Bianca pizza, which consists of slow cooked onions, crème fraiche and pancetta, and is best accompanied with a choice of their fine wines carefully selected from Burgundy. Piccolo Pizzeria & Bar, Shop 1E, Davis St., Kennedy Town, 2824-3000 Flour Power Fabrizio Napolitano, executive chef at Goccia, lives and breathes pizza—his last name says it all. Napolitano started making pizza at the age of 15 with his father in Naples, and his mastery of the craft is shown in the intricate attention to detail in Goccia’s pizzas. Napolitano only uses Italian products, from the volcanic stone oven, to the toppings, to the flour—which according to him is the most important element in pizza-making. Goccia sources a special blend of flour from a family mill in Senigallia, a small town in Italy’s Adriatic coast. Napolitano says the small-scale production will ensure the best wheat and grain mixtures, and hence quality. With the Italian volcanic stone oven, “the pizza gets better the more you use it,” according to Napolitano. If any of the dough is not at its optimum in the morning, Napolitano refuses to use it for his pizzas. Goccia has perfected its pizza bases for the Hong Kong palate, combining the Northern Italian appetite for crispy bases with the Southern Italian’s for thicker bases. The result: a crispy crust with a thicker middle, perfect for loading up on toppings like the popular rocket and San Daniele ham or spicy salami. Goccia, Shop 2, 73 Wyndham St., Central, 2167-8181. Tough Love Paisano’s Pizzeria owner Al Morales has been flipping pizzas since 1967, starting out as a helping hand at his Uncle Tony’s pizzeria in New York City when he was wee small. Morales keeps it simple when it comes to his pizzas, maintaining that “our main ingredient is love. We love what we do and do what we love.” Freshness is the order of the day (and night) at New York-style Paisano’s, with pizza dough being made every two hours, all day and all night. The vegetables are fresh, and the meats and sauces are imported from Italy and the United States to ensure an authentic taste. The pizza sauce is a 100+ year old family recipe, contains nine herbs and spices in it and is also made every two hours. Typical of New York, the pizza bases are thin and crispy in the middle and thick and chewy at the crust. Morales also claims to have the biggest pizzas in Hong Kong, but what stands out is that each slice holds its shape and is not cooked by a timer—pizzas are pulled out of the oven based on how they look. If you’re experiencing Paisano’s for the first time, go for their signature “Paisano” pizza, which combines Italian sausage, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, Spanish black olives and red onions for a flavor explosion. Paisano’s Pizzeria, 9 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2544-4445. More locations city-wide. Got Dough? Making pizzas is second nature to Enzo Carbone, head chef at 208 Duecento Otto. Carbone has worked in his family’s pizzerias in Naples from an early age. “I was quite shocked at how Neapolitan pizzas were presented [around the world]”, Carbone says. So his mission is to share “the authentic taste and true experience of Neapolitan cuisine” through his cooking. For Carbone, the strength of a pizza lies in the dough—made using the best Neapolitan caputo flour. Combined with the “proper” Italian techniques and a hand-crafted oven created on-site by an artisan flown in from Italy, the result is simply breathtaking. Carbone’s pizzas embody a true Neapolitana character, with a crisp outer crust and a softer center. As a true purist, Carbone recommends 208’s simple Margherita for the ultimate Neapolitan experience. 208 Duecento Otto, 208 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, 2549-0208. Leave It Out Al Molo’s celebrity chef Michael White honed his pizza-making craft from the best Italian chefs throughout the years and has gone to great lengths to ensure that his pizzas are of the ultimate Italian authenticity and deliciousness. At Al Molo, the pizza dough is left for over 24 hours before being rolled in order for it to develop its own flavor. And the pizza oven is no ordinary stone oven. Made of synthetic stone, it holds heat better and lasts longer than natural stone. It ensures that the oven is of a consistent temperature, which is important for consistently delectable pizzas. One of White’s mantras is that consistency is essential to keep people coming back, as taste memory plays a large part in the perception of food. We highly recommend Al Molo’s prosciutto pizza, which consists of Parma ham, mozzarella and arugula. The crispness of the fresh pizza dough, the richness of the cheese, the acidity of the tomato sauce, the savoriness of the prosciutto and the freshness and spice from the arugula make this pizza a true masterpiece. Al Molo, Shop G63, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 5-25 Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2730-7900. Butter Down Slices’ owner Ricky Cheung aims to stick to his principles of simplicity, quality, and—above all—delicious pizza. Two head chefs, (one from the US, the other from Italy) with the right mix of experience, skills and recipes, work together to create a New York-style pizza with an Italian twist. New York-style pizzas tend to be larger and include more toppings, so Slices has deliberately pulled back on the toppings and concentrates more on the quality of the cheese and the dough while retaining that New York thickness. The dough is a crucial indicator in judging the quality of the pizza, and Slices’ dough is made “just thick enough to produce that crispy crunchiness and is absolutely not greasy”, Cheung stresses. But what’s the secret to less grease? “Most pizzas tend to be pan-fried, which gives off that oozy oiliness. Slices use less butter and oil and the pizzas are baked in a stone grilled oven,” Cheung reveals. Slices, Shop 4&5, G/F, 128-132 Leighton Rd., Causeway Bay, 2895-6633.