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Extra cheese, please

Pizza, which seemed a food fad, has come to stay. It tops the foodie's popularity chart everywhere and in Kochi too! HEMJIT BHARATAN gets some reactions from the city pizza tuckers.

THE PIZZA is fast turning out to be a hot favourite among the youngsters in Kochi who wolf it down with gusto. Mention pizza to a kid and see his face light up. " I always ask my parents to treat me to pizzas when I get good grades, as it is my favourite" says nine-year-old Nitin with a smile. This worldwide delicacy was introduced in Cochin in the year 1990 with Hot Breads.

Mrs Mariamma Matthew Anthraper, proprietor Hot Breads says that the pizza eating habit is on the rise as more people demand for it. The preferred choices at Hot Breads are the chilly chicken pizza and the Mexican chicken pizza while the vegetarians go in for the pineapple tinged Hawaiian pizza.

Pizzas come in regular, large and extra large sizes and are priced per topping. A regular vegetarian pizza at Domino's is priced between Rs . 69 to Rs.159, while the non-vegetarian ones range between Rs.109 to Rs.129. Two or more can share the large and the extra large ones ranging between Rs.189 to Rs.269.

Some of the toppings with corn, olives and chicken sausage mentioned on the menu at Domino's is enough to set your gastronomic juices churning. Says Manu Nair, the Assistant Manger of Domino's that came up in Ernakulam in January 2000, "Domino's was received warmly in the city. There is a steady growth in our sales. The crowd that hangs out here are mainly youngsters though there is a steady stream of the middle aged who have the option of made to order toppings. The hot favourite here is the barbeque chicken pizza while the farm house and the deluxe veggie pizza top the veggie list". For the lovers of spice there is Domino's hot chicken Chettinad pizza to devour. Hungry Kya?

The pizza is consumed all over but one wonders about its health factor. Dr. Annie Joy says, "Pizza is loaded with calories and is very fattening due to its cheese and oil content. It can be ideal for growing children as it contains vitamin A in tomato sauce, calcium and protein in cheese and complex carbohydrates in dough and oil, but adults can afford to have only an occasional binge."

However M. Siddique, the executive chef at Taj Residency, Ernakulam says, "The pizza is a big hit in our Coffee shoppe, `The Bubble Café'. The older generation need not worry as pizzas are served here on a thick and thin crust and they have the option of choosing the toppings. So the figure conscious need not worry about gaining that extra pound. They can have their cake and eat it too". So pizza lovers, take heart. He further adds that there are a whole lot of other alluring pizzas, which are yet to come to Cochin. The specialities at The Bubble Café are prawn pizza, mixed meat pizza, salami and chicken pizza while the veggies love the corn and spinach pizzas. Joseph Peter, the General Manager of Avenue Regent, confirms that pizzas move quite fast from their pastry outlet - The Cake Shoppe.

The appeal of the pizza swells to all corners of the globe. The fact that it forms a whole meal in a pack makes it a suitable choice. Pizzerias are springing up all over and our city has a fair share of outlets dishing out this yummy fare.

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