Something Swedish

New York Pizzeria in Sweden?

14 Comments

Everyone in the U.S has seen this before, no matter what State they are in, a “New York Pizzeria.” Why? Because N.Y. is famous for their pizza, and N.Y. is famous. Now these pizzerias claim to have captured the essence of New York Pizza, they have supposedly harnessed the special power, the secret ingredient. They try to get it to taste the way pizza tastes in the Big Apple. (Its said to be the water, I’ve been to a great pizzeria in Florida who actually drives to New York once a week and brings back gallons of tap water.) Anyway, this obsession with New York pizza does not only go as far as the American borders. It’s here in Sweden too, but as far as I have experienced, the presence is only cosmetic decoration and appeal.

Last night we went to a pizzeria that we have never gone to, but have always passed by. I noticed a large gray-scale painting of the Brooklyn Bridge hanging on one of the walls. I didn’t take a photo but I took a note of it and decided it was time to bring this pattern to light.  I’ve only  been to five local pizzerias, three of which have New York paintings on the walls, one being this “New York Pizza & Kebab,” which takes the cake. I can assure you that none of them have New York pizza, nor do they even attempt to. There is no mention of the pizza being New York style, and it is very classically Swedish pizza.

While I am used to having a great deal of selection in New York, I would say that Swedish pizza has a much wider variety of pizza toppings, mostly due to some we wouldn’t usually put on a pizza. Swedish pizza is known for this large selection of toppings to choose from, anywhere from bananas to béarnaise sauce. I estimate that I normally see 30+ toppings at each pizzeria we go to, each topping normally comprising of 4-5 items as opposed to our typical toppings of one or two. It takes me a long time to read through each description (A pizza menu was the first thing I studied in Swedish, so if its on a pizza I know it! (mostly..) I usually end up with the veterinarian since I get overwhelmed and am familiar with the mushroom, pineapple, asparagus, artichoke, olive, onion, pepper combo.

The most popular and most “Swedish” pizza topping is the Kebab with a hot sauce and a yogurt based sauce, sometimes with french fries baked onto the pizza as well and maybe a sprinkle of lettuce. A “plain” slice of N.Y pizza is just tomato sauce and cheese, while Swedes throw ham into the mix.

Since the pizza is sold by the pie and not by the slice there is no viewing the pizza to help decide what you want, everything is made fresh from when you place your order from the large menu. This means that Swedes do not feel limited by the choices of pre made pizzas in front of them, like New Yorkers often do, pointing at the pizza we want instead of asking for our toppings. Normally only giving a “special order” pizza over the phone since it will take some time to make, otherwise it will not be as delicious as the ones on the counter because the toppings you chose will usually only be thrown on top of a plain slice of pizza and the flavor won’t meld correctly.

While you wait for that fresh pizza to be made up you have your pizza salad to munch on,  shredded cabbage marinated in vinaigrette, which is adored by most Swedes and is always a side dish to pizza. You eat with a knife and a fork, half because of the pizza salad and also because your pizza pie is not cut into slices for you and the crust is extremely thin and soft- not crispy like New York pizza. (I’ll never forget watching my in-laws have New York Pizza for the first time, teaching them to fold it in the center)

And so, where is the New York in this pizza?

This:

Is nothing like this:

And nor should it be.

Why do these Swedish pizzerias turn to the New York skyline for inspiration? Is that the number one thing we are known for in Sweden? It seems that Swedish pizza is much more similar to Italian pizza, why not idealize Rome? I have seen New York paintings in a restaurant other than a pizzeria as well, so maybe it is more of a food culture than only pizza. In that case where are the delicatessens and the bagel shops. Swedish pizza is amazing and shouldn’t  have to take on the presence of something its not, the two types of pizzas are very different and should be represented that way, proudly showing Swedish culture instead of New York.

I’m sure there  are New York style pizzas in Sweden, somewhere (Aside from Pizza Hut), but I have yet to encounter any. If there is the attempt to make actual New York style pizza, with a thicker crust, different selection of toppings, and sold by the slice, then the photos, name, and theme would make a lot more sense.

Has anyone else noticed so many pizzerias with New York theme decor in Sweden?

Oh, now I am really craving New York Pizza.

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14 thoughts on “New York Pizzeria in Sweden?

  1. Don’t know what kind of strange neighborhood you live in, every pizzeria I’ve ever been to has been italian-themed one way or another.

  2. Same here, Italian theme is way more common. I guess someone in your town just thought New York seemed cool an others followed. But don’t make the mistake to believe that everything you see in your town or family is typical for all of Sweden! 🙂

    And the theme doesn’t mean that people in Sweden want New York-style pizza. I have actually never seen that my self. And I doubt I will, most swedes wouldn’t consider a thicker crust to be a good thing! To be honest, the whole not getting them freshly made and insterad chosing from old, already made, pizzas, doesn’t sound very good at all… 😦 (and yes, pizzas get old very fast, you have to eat in in minutes from getting in out of the oven for it to taste the best!)

  3. I agree – I am in the UK and in most pizzerias here we get to watch them being made, very italian-style that is more likely to have rocket or spinach on top than chips or kebab or pineapple, it’s only in the american-owned franchises that pizzas like the ones you know are sold – and I don’t like them! They also use something on top that pretends to be cheese – monterey jack? I was very surprised at pizzas I ate when living in Chicago for a while. On the whole, americans like their food far sweeter than we do, and pineapple on pizza to me tastes pretty horrible, although my daughter likes it. I can understand that you would miss your flavours from home, though – we all would.

    • The pineapples are used more in Sweden actually, I was listing the average Swedish vegetarian pizza that I have been ordering since I started visiting. 🙂 I’m accustomed to mushrooms, peperoni, and eggplant pizza from N.Y. personally (Not all on one pie, one topping at a time.) My favorite is actually ricotta cheese, spinach, and garlic with sauce.

  4. Of course I’m only referring to my small Southern Sweden town, when I say “Swedish.” Its only my version of Sweden, as I’m sure every person experiences any country differently depending on where they are in it.
    The pizza culture is certainly different, and like I said the decor theme wasn’t matching the intention of the pizza at all, I never said that Swedes want New York pizza 😛 Just an interesting observation is all. (Even though NY Pizza is great! Don’t be deterred by the counter sitting, I wasn’t implying they weren’t fresh, but pre made because it is a very rushed “on the go” type of food, people want to order a slice and have it heated in the oven for a few minutes instead of cooking for 20. The pies get eaten quickly enough that they don’t sit long at all)

    • I’m sorry, I may have misunderstood, it seemed to me as if you were wondering why they had that theme when the pizzas wasn’t New York style. But I get it, and as janerowena wrote – I totally understand if you miss things! And if the pizzas are reheated it does sound better, although it still doesn’t sound as good as when they’re just made! 🙂

      And I love pineapple on pizza, but I do agree that a lot of American foods are to sweet.

      • No need to apologize! I guess everything got a bit confusing! Its funny because I wasn’t missing NY pizza until I started writing about Swedish Pizza and comparing a little, then the taste popped into my head! I certainly love Swedish pizza too, I love them both! 🙂 Just always looking for ways to compare I suppose.

  5. Kebab pizza is my pregnancy food. It’s just not the same if the pizza isn’t baked by a sweaty turk with hairy arms.

  6. Argh, you’ve now made me crave New York pizza as well! That’s interesting about the pizza salad. With Brazilian pizza, they don’t have “toppings,” they have “flavors” – so you don’t add your toppings one by one, instead you order from various pre-selected combinations. Unfortunately, both the sauce and the cheese leave much to be desired 😦

    • Even though it seems you are disappointed with the Brazilian pizza it’s interesting that there are “flavors!” We bought a frozen “Number one American style Pan pizza” Certainly not. lol Oh well! 🙂

  7. I lived in Sweden (in Tranås) for a year in high school (with cousins), and every pizzaria in town was kebab pizza. My favorite is Pizzaria Shalom, although Pizzaria Hawaii was also delicious… My favorite pizza of all time is the Mamma Mia – Kebab sauce, kebab meat, and a little tomato sauce. I was lucky enough to have a short visit back this Spring, and I LOVED having my beloved pizza again… (here’s my blog post on the trip.. http://lunchfitforakid.blogspot.com/2012/03/traveling-delicious-food-in-sweden.html)
    I would love to have a good recipe for Swedish pizza (with ingredients I could find in the states…)
    Found your blog this morning, and I am loving it!

    • Hi Astrid! thanks for reading, I love Swedish pizza- it’s so diff than in the states, no wonder you miss it! Wow, what a great post about Swedish food:) Must have been nice to visit!

  8. My sole comment, is this. I’ve been to Sweden, and I’ve had the pizza there. If someone were to open a Swedish pizzeria in the US, they would become sickeningly wealthy. I cannot for the life of me figure out why Kebab is not already here, and that kebab sauce is to die for. Seriously. Someone import that stuff, please?

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