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What Pairs Well with Pizza? A Guide to Making the Perfect Pair

In This Article

pizza

Pizza is tasty on its own, but what should you eat and drink with it? The right beverage or side dish can take your pizza to the next level. In this post, I’ll explain easy pairing ideas to try at home. You’ll learn what drinks match different pizza flavors.

I’ll also suggest snacks and meals that go great with a slice or a whole pie. With a little planning, you can create the perfect pizza experience. Follow our tips to find combos that help all the flavors shine.  The goal is balance – nothing that overpowers the pizza. Just tasty complements that make every bite better. Read on for our handy pairings guide that anyone can use. Soon, you’ll be an expert at building the ideal pizza spreads!

Key Features Of Pairing Drinks With Exotic And Fusion Pizzas

Pizza Type

Pairing Options I like

Benefits


Thai Chicken Pizza

Light, citrusy beer like wheat beers or lagers

Complements the flavors of lime, lemongrass, and ginger

Tandoori Chicken Pizza

Indian pale ale

The hops and spices mirror the Indian spices

Greek Pizza

Dry white wine

Cut through the briny olives and feta

Mexican Pizza

Margarita or Mexican beer

Accentuate flavors like salsa, avocado, and jalapeño

Korean BBQ Pizza

Ginger beer

Ginger provides, a refreshing contrast to sweet and spicy meat

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

Red Stripe beer

Smooth out the heat of the jerk spices

Chicken Tikka Pizza

Sparkling rosé wine

Fruity, bubbly wine matches well with the creamy tikka sauce

Pulled Pork Pizza

Brown ale

Roasted malts complement smoked meat flavors

Understanding the Flavor Profile of Pizza

The crust is everything. A blank slate ready to receive whatever divine tastes your palate desires. Neapolitan goes thin and chewy while deep dish gets heavy on dough, each with its own incredible gastronomy. From nutty whole grain artisanal to crunchy thin crusts, the crust gives support as well as identity.

Saucing it Right: Elevating Flavor Dynamics

A sauce may not be at the forefront of one’s mind, but it can make or break the expected outcome of pizza flavor. It does not have to be much. Neapolitan-style pizzas often have just a little spread of tomatoes that are light and tangy so their freshness sings out through them. Contrastingly, richer styles boast powerful marinara or barbecue sauces that give depth and complexity to the pizza. The sauce helps unify the flavors, giving it a memorable taste profile.

Cheese Chronicles: From Creamy Symphony to Distinctive Notes

Cheese rules supreme in bringing creaminess as well as savoriness into the fabric of pizza recipes. The choices made on cheese have great impacts on how this food tastes. Classic Margherita has fresh mozzarella significant for mildness and milky essence.

Alternatively, four-cheese pizzas will blend sharp, tart creaminess in their symphony. A daring rendition might go for special cheeses like Gorgonzola or goat cheese, thereby introducing surprise elements into taste compositions.

Top it Off: Tantalizing Toppings and Flavor Explosions

Toppings are what you put onto your pizza; they come in different flavors, textures, and colors. Toppings are there to shape your pizza’s identity. From traditional pepperoni to earthy mushrooms, each topping brings its own unique taste to the dish.

You can find variations from a simple New York style consisting of pepperoni to a more adventurous Californian spirit that has arugula, prosciutto, or sun-dried tomatoes on it. Hawaiian pizza, with its sweet and salty flavors, is an example of how toppings can make the taste distinct yet create divisions among people.

Pizza Pairing with Beverages

Pizza

Wine Pairings

Pizza and wine are a perfect match. Red wines like bold Chianti or smooth Merlot can be great choices for rich meaty pizzas. They stand up well against the richness of meats and cheeses. White and sparkling wines such as crisp Pinot Grigio or refreshing Prosecco also work well with lighter vegetable pizzas, adding extra brightness that enhances their freshness.

Beer Pairings

Beer is one of those timeless beverages that go hand-in-hand with a slice of pizza offering a wide range of flavors. Lagers are perfect for light beers such as classic margarita or just cheese pizzas, while heavier ales and stouts handle strongly flavored ones like pepperoni or BBQ chicken pizza quite well. For those who prefer artisanal or unique pizzas, trying craft beers might provide interesting and flavorful pairings.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Additionally, non-alcoholic beverages have the ability to create nice combinations. For example, with a traditional cola or root beer you can have a sweet dish that contrasts with your favorite pizza flavors, whereas bubbly waters and flavored seltzers quench the thirst.

Accompaniments

Salads

A fresh salad is also perfect for a rich pizza. Light green salads with vinaigrette are ideal for heavy pizzas, while high protein content salads match well with light pizzas focused on vegetables.

Appetizers

It is necessary to begin the meal with such traditional appetizers as garlic bread or mozzarella sticks prior to eating pizza. In the case of a group meal, sharing platters with various tastes could be an excellent way to kick-start the pizza experience.

Desserts

A sweet dessert after a savory pizza will end your meal on a high note. From indulging in classic Italian gelato to wrapping up in the warmth of a brownie, pick out something that complements rather than competes against the savory notes of the pizza.

Food Pairing

Why I like these Pairing

Beer

Pairs excellently with pizza due to their ability to cut through the cheese and cleanse the palate.

Wine

A good match for the richness of cheese and acidity of tomato sauce in pizza.

Salad

Provides a contrasting crunch and a vinegar note that cuts through the fat of pizza.

Garlic Bread

Complements pizza well by soaking up the sauce and enhancing flavors with garlic.

Fruit

Offers a sweet and tart contrast to the saltiness of pizza, but may not be the preferred pairing for all.

Dessert

Satisfies sweet cravings after a savory pizza meal with synergistic flavors.

Delving into Regional Pairings

Exploring regional pairings in the world of pizza and beverages opens up a delightful dimension of authenticity and cultural richness. It is worth noting that every region has its unique styles of pizzas as well as local beverages, thereby creating pairings that taste great but at the same time tell stories.

Italian Regional Wines: The Heart of Pizza and Wine Pairing

Neapolitan Pizza: Many people believe that Neapolitan pizza from Naples, where it originates, tastes best when it is served together with the wines from this area because of its thin crust, simplicity in toppings as well as rich heritage. For example, a glass of crisp Falanghina or fruity Aglianico wine from Campania can play up flavors found in Classic Margherita pizza. These wines share history with the pizza, hence making this combination very genuine.

Sicilian Wines for Sicilian Pizzas: Bold Sicilian wines go perfectly well with thick-crusted Sicilian pizzas full of robust toppings. A Nero d’Avola, which has enough body weight plus sweet, rich fruit, makes a perfect match for Sicilian pizza laden with rich cheese, anchovies, and tomatoes.

American Craft Brews: A Modern Twist on Pizza Pairing

New York-Style Pizza: On the other hand, this type of pizza is thin-crusted with generous toppings that are equally balanced AND thus can be successfully paired with different American craft beers. An East Coast IPA which is obviously hoppy and citrusy can cut through the richness of cheese as well as sweet tomato sauce.

Chicago Deep-Dish and Stouts: For a deep-dish pizza from Chicago, known for its thick crust and substantial toppings, a robust stout or porter can be an ideal match. The dark, malty flavors of the beer can complement the richness of the pizza, making each bite more enjoyable.

Exploring Pairings Beyond Borders

Global Influences: As pizzas have become a global favorite, various countries have created their own interpretations. On the same note, if you take an Indian-style spicy pizza topped with tandoori chicken or paneer, it would be best to pair it with either a cool lassi or crisp Indian Pale Ale so as to neutralize the spice.

Fusion Pizzas: Similarly diverse beverages would be suitable for fusion pizzas because they are made up of different ingredients sourced from different countries. For example, an Asian-inspired pizza could go well with sake or any other Asian-inspired cocktail drink, leading into a unique blend together.

Dietary Considerations in Pairings

In today’s diverse culinary landscape, accommodating various dietary preferences and restrictions is not only thoughtful but also essential in creating an inclusive dining experience. Due to the increasing mainstream vegan or gluten-free options available in restaurants today; it’s important to understand how these specialized pizzas can be paired with complementary beverages to enhance their flavors.

Pizza

Vegan Pizzas: Choosing Wisely

For instance, vegan pizzas that are usually served with different veggies, vegan cheeses and meat alternatives taste great with wines that enhance their natural flavors. A light Verdejo, known for its aromatic freshness and refreshing notes can be matched with the lightness of vegan toppings. On the other hand, an organic Sauvignon Blanc presenting vegetal hints also contributes to the crispness of vegetable toppings.

For vegans driven by compassion for all animals organic or biodynamic wines may be a good choice since they are produced without animal-sourced fining agents using sustainable practices. These wines are not only friendly to vegans’ beliefs but also have unique tastes associated with specific terroirs.

In considering beer choices, think about organic and craft beers. Light fruity craft beers like Berliner Weisse or session IPA can complement the different tastes found in many vegan pizzas without dominating them.

Special Considerations for Other Dietary Needs

  • Low-Carbohydrate and Ketogenic Diets: Low-carbohydrate or keto dieters may opt to match pizzas with either low-carb beers or wines lower in residual sugar content.
  • Non-Alcoholic Pairings: Those avoiding alcohol can also pair their pizzas with non-alcoholic beverages such as sparkling waters, non-alcoholic wines, and mocktails.

Pairing with Exotic and Fusion Pizzas

In the modern world of cooking, fusion has become common, especially in pizza making, which today showcases an exciting combination of flavors from all over the world. Pairing these innovative pizzas with the right beverages can elevate the dining experience, allowing each unique flavor to shine through.

Asian-Inspired Pizzas: A Dance of Eastern Flavors

Pairing with Riesling: Asian-inspired pizzas, known for their blend of sweet, savory, and spicy elements, pair wonderfully with Riesling. This versatile wine combines both sweet and tart tastes necessary for its flavor complexity. Riesling’s fruity profile can emphasize sauces like teriyaki or hoisin while its tartness cuts through fatty toppings such as Thai chicken or Peking duck.

Sake for a Traditional Touch: Sake is another traditional Japanese drink that can also serve as a good accompaniment to Asian-topped pizza. The subtleness of this beverage will go well with ingredients such as nori or miso-based sauces that are rich in umami. A Junmai or Ginjo sake is smooth and slightly fruity and can be a great addition to a sushi kind of pizza, especially if it has spicy tuna or salmon topping.

Latin Flavors: A Journey to the South

Rioja and Its Richness: For those pizzas that have bold Latin flavors like chorizo, jalapenos, manchego cheese etc., Spanish Rioja would be an ideal choice. Deep fruit flavors plus hints of spice in the wine make it pair well with the piquancy present in Latin-style toppings, thus achieving a harmonious balance on the tongue.

Margaritas for a Zesty Twist: Apart from that, Margarita is another choice for pairing Latin-inspired pizza due to its tangy lime-tequila base. The cocktail’s bright and refreshing profile can complement the spiciness of toppings like jalapeños or the richness of meats like carne asada, providing a delightful contrast.

Fusion Pizzas: Exploring Global Beverages

Middle Eastern Flavors: For pizzas with Middle Eastern influences, featuring toppings like lamb, feta, and tzatziki, consider pairing them with a Lebanese or Greek wine or even an aromatic cocktail like a Whiskey Sour.

Indian-Inspired Pizzas: Pizzas topped with flavors from Indian cuisine, such as tandoori chicken or paneer, can be paired with an off-dry Chenin Blanc or a mango lassi to balance the spices and herbs typical of Indian cooking.

Fusion Pizzas: Exploring Global Beverages

Beverages

Pros

Cons 

Beer

Complementary bread and grain tastes; variety of beer styles to pair

Alcohol doesn’t suit all tastes; some beers can overpower pizza flavors

Wine

Enhances and balances tomato sauce and cheese; white or red varieties

Not as casual a pairing; tannins in reds may clash with tomatoes

Soda

Familiar, refreshing option; complements greasiness

Too sugary; doesn’t enhance or cut richness

Iced Tea

Cuts grease and cleanses palate; variety of flavors

Lacks complementing tastes; unsweet may be too bitter

Milk

Cools spicy heat; clean, familiar flavor

Dairy on dairy can coat mouth; childish connotation

Juice

Fruity flavors contrast dough and cheese

Acidity fights with tomato sauce; high sugar content

Water

Neutral; cleanses palate; hydrating

Boring; no added flavors

Smoothies

Provides creaminess; fruit cuts grease

Can be too thick alongside pizza; sweetness

Sparkling Water

Bubbles cut rich cheese; flavored types add taste

Lacks depth; unflavored types quite boring

Pairing for Special Occasions

Romantic Dinners: Elevating the Experience

Choosing the Right Wine: For an intimate dinner, choosing a fine wine like vintage Champagne or aged Barolo can bring in a touch of class. Such wines not only go well with gourmet pizzas but also set the tone for a romantic evening.

Ambiance Matters: In addition to the right pairings, think about the setting. Candlelight, soft music, and elegant dishware make it all unforgettable.

Family Gatherings: Catering to All Tastes

Versatile Pairings: When dining with family, it’s important to choose pairings that cater to various tastes. A versatile Chianti, known for its wide appeal or a selection of craft beers, can offer something for every palate.

Non-Alcoholic Options: Ensure there are non-alcoholic pairings available, especially for younger family members or those who prefer not to drink alcohol. Sparkling ciders or artisanal sodas can be great choices.

The Impact of Seasonal Ingredients on Pizza

Embracing the rhythm of the seasons can transform your pizza and beverage pairings into a reflection of the time of year, bringing with it a freshness and relevance that enhances the dining experience. Seasonal ingredients not only offer peak flavor but also inspire pairings that resonate with the mood and atmosphere of each season.

Pizza

Summer Pairings: Light, Fresh, and Vibrant

Summer’s Bounty: Summer is all about freshness and vibrancy. Toppings like ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella capture the essence of the season. These ingredients call for pairings that are equally refreshing and light.

Wine and Beer for Summer: A chilled Rosato, with its bright fruitiness and crisp finish, can complement the lightness of summer pizzas. Alternatively, a light Pilsner, known for its clean and refreshing taste, can be a delightful accompaniment, cutting through the richness of the cheese and enhancing the herbs and fresh vegetables.

Non-Alcoholic Summer Drinks: For a non-alcoholic option, consider sparkling lemonades or iced herbal teas, which bring in tangy flavors that go well with lighter summer pizzas.

Winter Pairings: Rich, Hearty Comforting

Comfort Of Winter Flavors: Winter calls for more substantial flavors like roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, gorgonzola, or fontina cheeses, as well as other rich ones. They go well with drinks that give warmth as well as depth.

Warming Wines And Beers: A warming Cabernet Sauvignon, with its full body and complex flavors, can stand up to the richness of winter pizzas. For beer lovers, a robust Porter, with its dark malt flavors and hints of coffee or chocolate, can be a comforting match for the hearty toppings typical of winter pizzas.

Hot Beverage Pairings: Don’t overlook the charm of hot beverages. Spiced cider or rich hot chocolate can be a unique and cozy pairing for a winter pizza night, especially when enjoyed by a crackling fire.

Seasonal Variations: Spring and Autumn

Spring Pairings: Spring’s fresh and green flavors, like asparagus, peas, and young cheeses, pair well with lighter-bodied white wines like a crisp Pinot Grigio or floral Viognier.

Autumn Pairings: Autumn pizzas with toppings like roasted pumpkin, mushrooms, or sage are beautifully complemented by earthy red wines like Pinot Noir or a spiced amber ale.

Wrapping Up!

Pizza pairing is not just about food and drink. It’s an adventure through different flavors that make eating more fun. The top matches are ones that make your tastebuds happy. They add joy to your mealtime whether they are classic combos or creative pairings you invent.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and see what you like best. Mix and match toppings, crusts, cheeses, and more to design your dream pizza. Then, find the perfect drink, appetizer, or dessert to go with it by testing different options.

There are so many possibilities! So go on this tasty journey to find the ideal pizza pair that you love most. Experimenting with fun new pizza meals will give you lots of happy tastes and memories.

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