Today it is relatively easy to wave the flag of craft beer and artisanal foods. This is what makes it positively worth it to find a place where those two words mean something and are not just used as a marketing ploy. Only a walking distance from the most gourmet blocks in Miraflores, there is a cozy little restaurant serving artisanal pizza and craft beer.
One of the most popular foods worldwide and the third most popular drink around the world, have found themselves a new home in Mazza Pizza, where their true value as delectable pieces of craftsmanship are shown. And while you may think there is little novelty in a place that sells pizza and beer, albeit artisanal and craft, it is almost certain you will find Mazza’s approach to be innovative.
First, the pie is made of wheat and quinoa flours. Guess you didn’t see that coming. And second, the beers are not listed by name; instead, they are listed by style along with their pairing suggestions. Quite a couple of novelties, wouldn’t you say? “From the beginning, we wanted to give our customers something where flavor prevails,” says Edward Alvites, co-owner and chef. “Our goal is to serve flavorful, high-end pizzas at affordable prices,” he adds. And they do. Flavor is easily found in their vegetarian, signature, and classic pizzas.
(Photo: José Castro)
In that sense, Edward has given attention to something many have neglected: the un-topped pie. “There are people who like to eat the pie, especially the edges, and find it tasteless, flavor-free. This is the main reason we envisioned doing something different with the pizza dough,” declares Edward about the reason he came up with a wheat-quinoa pie.
The same goes for the tomato sauce that they make every day with fresh tomatoes —no surprises here, onions, and carrots. Also for the quinoa flour from Ayacucho, the Fiordilatte mozzarella sourced from a small-batch supplier, and the coconut milk in their Hawaiian pizza.
And if you can’t get around the city without your pet, Mazza has a pet-friendly zone, provided your furry friend is well-trained. Don’t like beer? They sell Carmenère and Malbec by the glass, and there are sangría and clericot, too. Teetotaler? Try the muña iced tea.
But let’s get down to business. We will start out with some bruschetta di salmone. With a crispy bread slice and a chewy texture on the salmon topping, this appetizer or antipasto is full of flavor and deserves a third and fourth bite. So do the focaccini con salsa di pomodoro, crunchy focaccia sticks with a savory tomato sauce. “It’s the same sauce we use in our pizzas but tastier,” says Edward.
Now it is the right time to sink our teeth in a pizza La Roma, a thin, rectangular pie topped with prosciutto, goat cheese, arugula, roast tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. The textures, flavors, and colors used in this pizza generate true pleasure for our taste buds and retinas. Everything we have heard about the wheat-quinoa dough becomes true. There is a certain degree of palatable bitterness in the aftertaste and just a pinch of saltiness. True. We could have this pie untopped.
Next is a vegetarian pizza. The one we are having is called Deli and made with grilled eggplant slices, asparagus, artichokes sautéed in garlic butter, cherry tomatoes, leeks, and strips of amarillo chili pepper. So savory a pizza this is, that you could not find more umami anywhere else, even if you tried. No wonder the Alviteses say that this is a vegetarian pizza for the non-vegetarian. We are happy to eat up our veggies.
And even happier to follow Edward’s wise recommendation to pair the Deli pizza with a local Belgian-style blond ale. Spicy and herbal with hints of coriander, the beer is a good match bite after sip, sip after bite. The ale’s haziness contributes to its body, and the fizziness serves as a palate cleanser for the olive oil in the pizza.
Mazza curates ten different styles of craft beer made in Peru: Belgian-style blond ale, Belgian-style amber ale, Belgian-style tripel, English-style pale ale, brown porter, American-style brown ale, American-style wheat ale, American-style amber ale, American-style IPA, and double IPA.
So we embark on another beer pairing adventure. This time it is our chance to decide what to drink with a non-Italian dessert: crème brûlée. Our choice is a brown ale, a classic call because of its nutty and roasted flavors brought together by some caramelly notes. The crème brûlée displays an upper caramelized crust resulting from flambéing brandy on top of the vanilla-flavored custard. As you can imagine, vanilla, nuts, and caramel deliver such a harmonious mix that it is really hard to put either the spoon or the glass down.
Thus has ended our visit to Mazza, a seven-month-old artisanal pizza place that has already started to take delivery orders. Orders that they fulfill with a motorized bicycle. And if you are around at lunch time, you will be able to enjoy their lasagnas (bolognese or pesto) and pizzas (Margherita, pepperoni, or Hawaiian) for a very reasonable price.
Miraflores has yet another interesting place to offer to all those with a gourmet interest and a liking for craft beer but above all an affinity for good pizza. As we leave Mazza, we promise ourselves to come back for some tiramisù. And some more pizza.
Mazza Pizza e Birra Artigianale
Calle Mariscal La Mar 438, Miraflores
Open: 1:00PM – 4:00PM, 6:30PM – 11:00PM