Special Pizza Box Report from the Netherlands
I’ve been checking out Dutch pizzerias for the past week and while I can’t say there’s anything magical happening on the plate, those opting for take-away are definitely in for something special. I’m pretty into pizza boxes these days so my eyes are always peeled for new specimens for my collection, which takes up its own shelf in my apartment. I have a huge pile of new submissions from amazing people all over the planet and I can’t wait to get back and catalogue them, but last night I stumbled across some of my favorite boxes yet.
I scored this first box at MangiAncora, a pizzeria located in the De Pijp section of Amsterdam. I’ll write a full report sometime next week, but suffice it to say this is the best pizza I’ve had in NL thus far. But back to the more important container. I’m in awe of these boxes that are printed in full color all the way out to the edge. How can they do this? Isn’t it expensive? This is way beyond what we have back in the US. And who is this artist? His name (Ciancio) is in the lower right-hand corner. Please, if anybody knows Ciancio please tell him/her I’m a big fan.
This next one is equally amazing, with its to-the-edge printing and full color. But get a load of this scene; it shows famous Neapolitan comic actor Toto sharing pizza with a guy who looks like a cross between Adrian Grenier and Jake Gyllanhaal. Who is that guy and why does he have such a weird pinky finger? All we know is that they’re on a boat in the Bay of Naples and only one of them seems to be having a good time. A quick online search produced the original image upon which Toto’s apprehensive expression is based. I grabbed this box at de Portare Via, also located in Amsterdam. The pizza makers saw a stack of boxes already under my arm so I mentioned my collection, providing the perfect segway to ask about all the different boxes I saw piled around the room. They pointed to a stack od “old boxes we don’t use for pizza, just for show” and revealed the stunning top image. I squealed. This isn’t the only box top image that features Toto, I think I have another one in my collection. They seemed pretty happy to get rid of it and I was more than happy to take it.
But nothing could compare to the next box they pulled from a dusty stack. I’ve seen images of similar boxes but never came across one in the wild, so this was a pretty big moment for me. I made a sound never before uttered in the Netherlands. It was a sound of such pure joy and elation, it could only mean one thing…
That’s right, the fabled Simpsons pizza box! There are similar boxes floating around out there and, like this one, they appear to be completely unlicensed. The “Homer” character’s head is covered with more than three hairs and the “Bart” character covers his pointy hairline with this cap. No paper trail. It’s brilliant. Again, the color printing goes all the way to the edge of the box. Amazing. Truly a landmark box in my collection. If you ever see another “Simpsons” box, please grab it for me and you will be rewarded with a similar squeal to the one I produced upon seeing this box last night.
As beautiful as they are, none of these boxes are technically revolutionary. Their minimal ventilation would be blocked with stacking, not to mention how it would interfere with the beautiful artwork. Besides the pretty pictures, the boxes themselves are downright boring. They aren’t even from the Netherlands, they’re all Italian. I also picked up some logo boxes from several Dutch pizzerias but their artwork is less exciting. Why are Italian stock boxes so beautiful while custom boxes are so dull? I’ll work on finding answers to questions like this as the hunt continues…