Thanks to the power of social media and a couple of recent documentaries, 2017’s infamous Fyre Festival has become a byword for failure. Despite being advertised as a luxury, all-inclusive celebfest for wealthy, sexy millennials, attendees were treated to a “wild” weekend in what turned out to be a Caribbean FEMA camp. Water, food and fun were all in short supply. Even endless clips of Ja Rule and models couldn’t hide the fact that people had paid up to $12,000 for a weekend without toilet paper. It was, in every sense, a shitshow.
Unsurprisingly, the disaster extended to the menu. Guests had been told to expect a smorgasbord of gastronomic delights from an array of stellar chefs. Rumours abounded of lobster dinners on the beach, accompanied by all the freshly-made pina coladas you could drink. The reality was significantly more depressing. As the new Netflix feature “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” explained, organisers couldn’t even get bottled water for their guests without offering oral sex to customs officials. It was less Michelin Star, more “Lord of the Flies”.
However, of all the disastrous catering on display, there was one menu item that really captured the gobsmacked global public’s imagination. First photographed by baffled festival goer Trevor DeHaas, the infamous “cheese sandwich” - a depressing pastiche of stale bread, slightly curled cheese and undressed salad leaves - managed to sum up everything that was wrong with the event in one fateful image. Great expectations; crap reality.
Now, with the festival firmly back in public consciousness, one enterprising pizza chain has decided to offer their own riff on the world’s most sorry sandwich. Villa Italian Kitchen, who also made recent headlines with a new and disturbing “Gender Reveal Lasagna” promotion, have become the first restaurant to offer an extortionately priced, distinctly unappetising slice of history - ideal for anyone who didn’t get to experience the full horror of Fyre Fest the first time around.
The slice, christened “The Festival Pyzza”, features a cold triangle of tomato-covered dough, clad in a trio of unmelted processed cheese pieces. This is served with several sorry looking leaves in a folding foam box. It costs $25. It must rank as one of the most expensive jokes ever created by the food industry.
In a press release to promote the new slice, Villa Italian Kitchen’s wry Director of Communications Mimi Wunderlich revealed, “We wanted to bring the high-end Bahamian festival experience everyone has been talking about lately to our customers nationwide who may have missed out on the real thing last spring,” before adding, “this pizza is so hot it’s almost worth incarceration for mail and wire fraud.”
As undoubtedly hilarious as hundreds of rich people being stranded on an island with nothing but cheese sandwiches obviously is, the new pizza seems like an extremely pricey way to get in on the joke. If the pictures are anything to go by, deliciousness is definitely not one of the meal’s USPs. However, for anyone interested in shelling out $25 for a slice, there’s always the chance of scoring a viral tweet. There’s a silver lining to every expensive cloud.