Pizzeria Paradiso vs. Pinocchio Pizzeria

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Welcome to week 10 in Northampton of the Valley Pizza Challenge!  This week also completes our semi-final round and the winner of tonight’s contest will determine who goes up against Mimmo’s Pizza in the Northampton Finale which should be coming in a couple weeks.

Tonight’s semi-final round matches up two solid contenders:  Pizzeria Paradiso and Pinocchio Pizzeria (sadly, they have no website).  Paradiso really battled through both rounds it has competed in, the first against a worthy Papa Gino’s, and the second against Filo’s Greek Taverna.  Both competitors were tough, Filo’s especially makes a delicious pizza.  It just happened to be unlucky enough to go up against Pizzeria Paradiso, which has displayed excellence throughout.  Pinocchio’s has had a much easier time of it so far.  They got a bye in round 1 and bested a so-so (amazing eggplant though) Pizza Amore in round 2, leaving them in a a slightly nebulous position going up against the titan that is Pizzeria Paradiso.

Here is our bracket so far:

bracket

 

Pizzeria Paradiso

image2

An unassuming spot, what lies within?

 

Pinocchio Pizzeria

IMG_0326

Y u no have website?!?

 

The Pizza

We were super close to ordering Hawaiian pizzas since both establishments offer them on their menu, but we were a little gun-shy from last time’s eggplant situation, so we went with the safe choice of sausage and green pepper.  People might disagree with this, but my feeling on the matter is it is harder to judge the pizzas if their topping treatment is wildly different, as we’ve found to be the case with eggplant.  And we weren’t sure what the Hawaiian pizzas would be like (on a semi-final round no less) so we went with something we know instead.

Pinocchio's on the left, extra-folded Paradiso on the right

Pinocchio’s on the left, extra-folded Paradiso on the right

 

Visually, the Paradiso pie looks a tad tidier to me.  I’m not sure what happened with the Paradiso pie but I guess the pizza rolling got a little out of hand.

 

The Crust

The Pinocchio’s crust, while light and airy, was found to be a bit bready and tended to dry out the mouth more than we liked.  Striking a different note, the Paradiso crust was thinner but had great chew and flavor.  Some of us liked the thicker airier crust from Pinnochio’s, but more of us liked how thin and chewy the Paradiso crust was.  There was probably a bit too much crust on the Pinocchio’s pie, too.

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Pinocchio Pizzeria
    Crust  

 

The Toppings

This was a real close one and turned out to be the toughest category of the night for us to decide on.  The quality of the toppings was deemed to be pretty similar, but several people preferred the sausage on the Pinocchio’s pie, and preferred the quantity of toppings on Pinocchio’s as well.

Winner: Pinocchio Pizzeria

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Pinocchio Pizzeria
  Toppings    

 

The Flavor

We noticed more layers of flavor on the Paradiso pie.  While the Pinocchio’s pie was good, it sort of came and went without too much fuss or notice.  On the other hand the Paradiso pie grabbed your attention with each bite.  Flavor was embedded into the sauce and cheese that complement the pizza as a whole.  Really well done!

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Pinocchio Pizzeria
     Flavor

 

Final Thoughts

Pizza Paradiso and Pinocchio Pizzeria are two very different establishments.  The former makes a brick-oven gourment-style pizza, and is generally treated as a dine-in experience, whereas the latter mostly focuses on selling pizza by-the-slice and is considered a great late-night bar stop.  Pizza Paradiso is also not open for lunch and Pinocchio’s is, so getting a couple slices there for lunch any day of the week is a delicious meal.  With that said, there is no denying that the Paradiso pie is simply better. It has a thin chewy crust and wonderful flavors, and deserves its spot in the Northampton Finale.

 

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Pinocchio Pizzeria
    Crust  
  Toppings    
     Flavor

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso

bracket

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One Comment

  1. Hillary

    Ooo, nice graphic on the judgment categories.
    I vote that we bring back the full set of categories for the final round, for an extra-rigorous assessment of the valley’s best pizza 🙂

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