The Olympics of Extra Cheese a.k.a. The World Pizza Championships
Here are the details as reported by the Post:
The World Pizza Championships in Salsomaggiore, Italy, are like the Olympics of Extra Cheese. About 20 international teams will descend on this tiny resort spa town south of Milan on April 3-5. "You just wouldn't think that such excitement over food would exist," says Amanda Brandon, managing editor of PMQ Pizza Marketing Quarterly, which sponsors the U.S. Pizza Team, one of two American teams,"and it's not just the eating part, it's the sports part, too."
The competitors, who advance to the international event through national trials, compete in five categories: fastest pizza maker, largest dough stretch, freestyle pizza tossing and best pizza (traditional and gourmet).
PMQ Magazine has organized two tours -- one for the pizza obsessed, the other for those who want Italian sightseeing with their pie. On the former tour, guests travel with the team and attend the full roster of competitions, the highlight being the acrobatic pizza tossing, which is held at night at a disco. The itinerary includes a city tour and two nights in Milan; a day's excursion to Pisa; the final banquet dinner; and pizza samples. The latter tour visits Milan, Venice and Pisa and spends a day in Salsomaggiore for three of the pizza competitions. Cost for both tours is $2,500 per person double, including round-trip air from New York. Space is limited. Info: 662-234-5481, http://www.worldpizzachampionship.com/
If you don't want to travel en masse, the championships are free and open to the public (the gala requires an invitation). Salsomagigore has various lodging options, plus spa centers and upscale boutiques. For information on the area, plus details on the competition, see the town's tourism Web site at http://www.commune.salsomaggiore-terme.pr.it/