We rarely eat pizza when we travel. It’s the sort of thing that you eat at home when you are too tired to go out and too lazy to cook. But a recent month-long trip to Lanquedoc and Catalonia brought home to me how much pizza has become a part of the local diet in this part of Europe. Not just for tourists but for locals. One night recently after a long day of travel and being desperately hungry, my wife and I and our two travel companions walked into the wonderful old city of Besalú looking for something to eat when most of the restaurants were not yet open. So we went into La Roda Groga for some pizza, with little expectation that it would be particularly good. We were certainly treated to a surprise. Not only were we warmly received by the staff but we were served some of the best pizza we’ve had in ages. Combining a variety of local ingredients, the chef has produced pizzas that are both interesting and delicious and in a sense truly Catalonian. The pizzas are thin crust and have found that sweet spot where the crust is neither too hard nor soggy in the middle. The choice of toppings is interesting and creative. We washed it down with some very inexpensive local wine that was nicely drinkable and complimented the pizza. We liked our meal so much that we came back a second time two days later. This time we talked to the chef, whose English is excellent having spent a year in the U.S. If I had him making pizza in my neighborhood back in L.A., I’d be eating there once a week.
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