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Smoked Reindeer Pizza

In 2005, after a visit to Finland, former Italian prime minister and salty food critic Silvio Berlusconi publicly slandered the country's culinary heritage. He ridiculed their diet as consisting mostly of "marinated reindeer" and how he "endured" Finnish cuisine during his trip there (via Atlas Obscura). His comments weren't lost on the people of Finland, they wasted no time in dishing out savory justice.

Kotipizza, based in Vaasa, Finland, created a unique specialty pie called the "Pizza Berlusconi" that playfully dissed the prime minister while simultaneously taking a jab at one of Italy's cherished culinary traditions! "Pizza Berlusconi" is topped with - you guessed it - smoked reindeer, along with cheese, red onion, and chanterelle mushrooms on a rye crust.

There are plenty of creative pizza toppings, and not all of them succeed. However, that's not the case with this novelty pizza. Kotipizza entered their "Pizza Berlusconi" into the Plate International Pizza Contest held in New York City and won first place, besting the Italian-Americans' pizza entry!

“Once you open the cardboard lid, the smell of smoked reindeer and onion say hello to you,” wrote one food blogger after trying the pie for the first time. “The flavor itself is absolutely wonderful…I have to say, this is a Holy Grail of pizza!”

The restaurant made their winning pie a menu staple. When the Italian embassy insisted the title be removed on the grounds that Kotipizza was advertising using their prime minister’s name, the CEO suggested Berlusconi come to Finland and discuss it with them. He never did (via Atlas Obscura).

Eventually the prime minister did eventually return to the country in 2011, during which he sampled more Finnish fare. This time he had more positive things to say - he ate a fine meal of reindeer filet, salmon sandwiches, and a chocolate tart (via Very Finnish Problems).


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