Monday, February 05, 2007

Pizza & Faina in Uruguay

Pizza Uruguay In Uruguay pizza is not round, and slices are not triangular, well now is getting more common, but when I was a kid, round pizzas could only be seen in movies.

I guess the reason lies in the traditional usage of a spade (pala, is spade the right word? is more like a paddle) in the cooking process. Pizza here is prepared a la pala, using a sort of spade to put the pizza into, and take it out from the oven, typically a firewood oven. The pizza is given a rectangular, long and thin shape, to be better handled with the spade. In some places pizza is sold by the meter.

pizza uruguayAlso in Uruguay, if you order a pizza, you'll get one without any mozzarella. If you want the portion with mozzarella, you have to order a mozzarella :D Informally called "muzza".

faina uruguayIt is also usually ordered along with a traditional dish in Uruguay named Fainá (farinata in italian), which is a sort of thin bread mixed with cheese (depending on the receipe), and served with pepper. It's typical to order it from the border (faina de la orilla), which is kind of stupid, taking into account I've never met anyone that likes it from the middle (everybody orders it "de la orilla"). If you ask me among the best places to have Pizza in Uruguay is a bar called Costa Azul by the Rambla de Pocitos. One portion of pizza costs around 20 pesos, almost 1 usd, and one portion of muzza costs two times that amount.

wrapped pizza uruguayPizza is usually delivered wrapped in paper and nylon to separate the layers of pizza, muzza, faina, etc. The paper is typically used to get your hands cleaned.
The size of the portion also changes from bar to bar, and it depends heavily on the cookers mood when cutting the portion. One interesting experiment I like to make is to order one portion, and after a while order two portions. Usually two portions aren't two times one, but more like 1.5, and if you order three you'll get whatever, since it's eyed measured. When you are uruguayan, young, penniless, and starving this is the type of useless things that you pay attention to.

It is typical to have a slice of muzza, with a slice of faina on top, and this is called pizza a caballo (pizza on horseback?).

pizza a caballo uruguay


Anonymous said...


Horazio said...

It's funny how the fainà it's a popular dish in all uruguay while in Italy (it's original country) it is only known in its region : Liguria, in the north west of Italy.

Horazio said...

..about pizza...
Uruguayan pizzas are very good,but quite different compared to the Italian pizzas.
In Italy pizzas are always round and very thin,while in Uruguay are a lot more thicker.
Another differnce is that uruguayan pizzas are kinda "sweet" compared to the italian ones,I guess that's due to the tomato sauce.
The third difference is that uruguayan "muzarela" is NOT "mozzarella".
The cheese used in Uruguay for pizzas is called "Fior di latte"
(literally : "milk flower")
a type of cheese used mostly for pizzas,but it's not italian mozzarella.
Cheers from Venice!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Montevideo as a kid some 35-40 years ago. Since then I've been all over world, and to be honest the pizza/mozarella from Uruguay is by far the best. Freshly ground tomatoes , garlic and onions with basil and oregano plus salt. Thats it. Its not made from condensed tomato paste like much of the rest of the world. And its brick oven baked on open firewood. And yes, no additional toppings (with the possible exception of "jamon"). Even without the "mozarella" its delicious. And that "mozarella" is different from anywhere else, its stringy and delightfully light, not greasy or salty.
There are a couple of places in Buenos Aires that sell Uruguayan pizzas.
Another other food I miss is the chivito sandwich. Can't be found anywhere else in the world. Both the "res" and "cerdo" versions are great.
And the chorizo sandwich with that incredible sauce they serve at both inside the Estadio Centenario and outside in little carts, absolutely mouth watering...

Vicky said...

Dont forget about "TRouville" in 21 de Setiembre street and "El horno de Juan", where you can have excellent muzzarellas too !!

Im in London since last November only and believe me the Muzzarella is the "food" im most missing !!!

Deborah said...

The pizza in Uruguay is by far the best!!! And the faina is too! Too bad its nearly impossible to get in NYC...some come close but nothing is as good as the original!

Anonymous said...

We were in Genoa recently and the pizzas there are square. They also have Faina and Torta Pasqualina

Anonymous said...

in Italy pizza changes from region to region. The pizza in Genoa is almost the same as in Uruguay. Most Italians in Uruguay come from Genoa.

Maria said...

Deborah... cross the the river to Elizabeth, NJ there are a couple of places there that sell Uruguay pizza... google it I believe one is called Montevideo Pizza & the other Uruguay Pizza...

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