This Chef Turned an Active Volcano Into an Essential Part of Making Pizza

Delicious pizza, made with lava

View of a pizza being cooked on a lava river that comes down from the Pacaya volcano at the Cerro Chino hill in San Vicente Pacaya municipality, Guatemala.
JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images

What’s the ideal way to make a pizza? For some, it’s a brick oven. For others, there’s a joy in lightly frying the dough to create a unique crust. For another group, the key involves the perfect deep dish. One component to making a great pizza that doesn’t often get discussed is an active volcano. There are a number of reasons for this — clearly, it’s a lot easier to build a brick oven than find a nearby volcano but at least one chef has made a strong case for blending handmade food with an extreme natural environment.

Writing at Atlas Obscura, María Paula Rubiano A. has the story of the Guatemalan restaurant Pizza Pacaya and its founder, Mario David García Mansilla. Where is this unique establishment located? As the article phrases it, “any corner of the Pacaya hot enough to bake pizzas.”

Using a volcano to prepare food has a long history, and it’s something plenty of people have tried — including one man who attempted to prepare a breakfast on an Icelandic volcano. What makes Pizza Pacaya distinctive, Rubiano writes, is the way García has used the concept as the heart of a successful business. His customers generally make reservations, and he now has a pair of employees.

It’s an unconventional process to be sure, but the lava flow on the Pacaya Volcano is well-suited to the work García is doing. And admit it: the idea of eating pizza near an active volcano is pretty enticing, isn’t it?


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