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…
Pagliacci’s box top describes the life cycle of a pizza box.
Don’t you just love pizza boxes? They are the unsung hero of busy/lazy food eaters everywhere and we need to take a moment out of our busy schedules to pay respect. At their most basic, pizza boxes transport food from oven to hungry person, but some boxes go the extra mile. There’s a whole world of engineering and design that happen behind the scenes and this box from Pagliacci Pizza in Seattle, WA is a testament to that process.
The box itself is a pretty standard corrugated unbleached Michigan-style unit. That means it’s your basic cardboard box. Bleached paper is white and looks nice with printing, but this box keeps it simple with its natural finish. Michigan-style (aka Walker Lock) just means the front flap folks over itself to hold in the side flaps, which creates a sturdy structural element that can stand up to the weight of multiple pizzas in a stack. [I’m pretty sure it’s called Michigan Style because it was first used for a Michigan-based pizza company called Domino’s.]