Over the last few days, the internet has been understandably alarmed by a widely shared image of a seriously weird pizza. While odd toppings are nothing new, this particular pie has sparked outrage due to the inexplicable inclusion of kiwi. Arguments have raged. Reactions have ranged from intrigued to horrified. So, like the intrepid edible explorers that we are, we decided to roll up our sleeves, place the members of Team Twisted in the fruity firing line, and give it a go ourselves.
Like a blank canvass, a plain pizza is full of endless possibility. Arm yourself with the brushes and paints of pepperoni, cheese, mushrooms and ham, and you can create any number of tasty masterpieces with a few well-placed sprinkles and strokes.
However, just as when a child glues a piece of penne to a spray-painted side of A4, or when an avant-garde provocateur attempts to frame a poo, not all artistic ideas are created equal. Sometimes, you have to call a spade a pile of sh*t.
The original kiwi pizza, which was prepared in a Swedish restaurant at the request of what we can only assume was a seriously troubled customer, featured slices of fruit baked on top of a ham and cheese base. Due to limited resources, our version dispensed with the ham. However, in order to get a fully formed picture of all that the kiwi pie had to offer, we did opt for versions with both cooked and uncooked kiwi fruit. We would never want to be accused of not taking the task seriously.
The first thing to say is that fruit on pizza isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Roasted pineapples bring a sharp citric twist to the fatty richness of the rest of a Hawaiian. Their inclusion might still be controversial, but the pizza’s popularity speaks for itself. That said - and we cannot stress this enough - kiwi is not pineapple.
In the baked version, the lurid green fruit had a seriously strange effect on the cheese. Instead of melting into salty, tangy tendrils, the acid “cured” the cheese into a chewy puddle of glue paste of the sort that nursery teachers are always trying to stop their students from eating. The whole thing looked like an anaemic frisbee. It didn’t taste much better.
In a great step for science and a terrible one for our stomachs, we discovered that if you bake a kiwi on top of a pizza, what you end up with tastes like a truly terrible apple pie. Imagine the McDonald’s classic, subtly infected with the flavours of cheese and tomato.
Unlike pineapple, which retains its texture when cooked, kiwi disintegrates into a mushy quagmire of hot baby food. The fruit bursts like a washing machine capsule, covering the inside of your mouth in wincingly-sharp juice. It’s as though someone has been chewing a lemon and then regurgitated the resulting mulch back into your face.
The majority of the team were equally unimpressed. As one startled videographer put it, “if you chew and breathe at the same time it tastes like vomitty parmesan.” Another took one sniff, picked all the fruit off and stole a piece - slightly defeating the purpose, but we can’t say we blame them.
To make the results of our experiments even more valid, we even enlisted the help of an actual New Zealander. Assuming that they would wax lyrical about their national fruit if it was put in almost anything, we enthusiastically handed them a horrible slice. Instead, they described it as “an attack against my country.”
The raw variety fared slightly better. Spared the oven treatment, the kiwi retained its texture and added some of the sharp sweetness you’d associate with a Hawaiian. However, as we said previously, since kiwis are not pineapples, the result is inexorably worse - like someone serving you a board of vegan nut cheese and claiming it’s just as delicious as a baked camembert.
As astute observers will be able to tell, we’re all for finding weird new combinations of food. You don’t create cheeseburger dumplings and lasagna nuggets by sticking to the rulebook. However, just because something is different doesn’t make it delicious. If there was ever an argument for sticking with tradition, the kiwi pizza is surely it.