After the Miss World Canada delegates experienced Virtual Realty at DiVRge on Yonge St (just north of Eglinton) our army shuttled six blocks west to St Clair Ave and Dufferin, a Latin culture hot spot in the City of Toronto. The trip took about thirty minutes because the traffic was barely crawling and the heat was intense. The city was baking that Tuesday as temperatures reached 28 degrees in the downtown core.
At six o’clock pm on the 24th July, the 2018 Search for Miss World Canada descended on Pizza e Pazzi, Italian restaurant on St Clair Ave.
Once inside the door, our delegates selected beverages from a table lined with white wine flutes and fruit punch in champagne glasses garnished with strawberries. There was cold water on every table, and this natural beverage was very popular. The restaurant left the door open and the sound of thunder and rain outside also helped cool everyone down.
As the storm clouds rumbled in the sky above, and the rain started to fall outside, our hungry army of national delegates sat down to a certified authentic Italian dinner.
AVPA – Verace Pizza Napoletana on St Clair at Pizza e Pazzi
Authentic AVPN certified pizza means its up to the high standard sets for such cuisine in Naples, Italy.
The True Neapolitan Pizza Association ( Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, AVPN ) is a non-profit organization and was founded in June 1984 in Naples. Their mission is to promote and protect the true Neapolitan pizza (Verace Pizza Napoletana) in Italy and standardize the offering in pizzerias worldwide. They ensure the typical product is made in accordance with the characteristics described in the AVPN International Regulations for obtaining a collective brand mark True Neapolitan Pizza – Vera Pizza Napoletana, in force since 1984. So that’s what the oven decoration above denotes, and chef Nick Antonacci is very proud of this accreditation.
Since we’re translating languages, what the heck does Pizza e Pazzi mean?
Pizza e Pazzi translates as “Pizza and the Crazies” and while this probably refers to some Sicilian joke or cultural reference not known by most patrons, the place never had a more appropriate name than when our delegates were there. The first twenty minutes were crazy and flavoured by the specially-made pizza-finger appetizers made on site and set-out on all tables. Interestingly the pizza nibbles were not included on the menu, but these first snacks were served propitiously and devoured by the masses within minutes of the plate hitting the table.
Then fifty salads were plated and dispatched from the open concept kitchen prep area.
This restaurant was just overhauled last year, and in March 2017 it reopened with new ownership of a five-member, three-generation kitchen-bound family. Now this team is super professional and very talented at feeding a large groups of people, all at once. Below is the menu of choices offered to each Miss World Canada contestant that evening.This restaurant specializes in hosting and feeding large groups of people. Pizza e Pazzi has corporate group events page on their website that outlines how to book a similar meal for your event. Reigning 2017 Miss World Canada titleholder Cynthia Menard was the informal host of the night and she drifted from table to table sharing laughs with all the ladies as the meal was served.
The entree choices were either, Rigatonni Caprese or Campenelle prosciutto and sage in rose sauce and both looked and tasted amazing. The Rigatonni Caprese seen above is made with rigatoni pasta in a mouth-watering sauce composed of diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, (a hint of) garlic, fresh basil in olive oil and black pepper.
Campanelle translates as “bell flower”, and the gentle ruffled shape of this pasta is perfect for holding plenty of rich roasted tomato-basil cream sauce. Prosciutto is a sweat meat that tastes divine when sliced thin and served in pasta.
The dessert was Tiramisu, and there was no second choice offered. Who could refuse real Italian Tiramisu? Nobody.
Here’s a rare shot of Ryan Weswaldi enjoying his meal after a very long day. Ryan is Michelle Weswaldi’s brother.
After the meal we said goodbye to the chef and staff and exited the restaurant in a long single file that stopped traffic on the sidewalk and in the roadway as we boarded the bus. There was no music (deliberately) on the trip home, and most delegates reflected on the day that was, and then fell asleep in their seats in a blissfully tranquil bus ride back to the hotel.