A two-day pizza challenge, which took place on the 27th and 28th May 2016 at Melita Gardens in Balzan, brought together 50 local chefs to compete in a culinary showdown of pizza-making, to win a professional pizza course at the Accademia Pizzaioli in Italy.

The challenge, organised by AppleCore Foods, the exclusive importers of Arla Mozzarella in Malta, gave contestants 20 minutes each to prepare two pizzas: the classic Margherita and a mystery pizza of their choice, created using a combination of the ingredients provided.

A panel of international judges, from Accademia Pizzaioli, Molini Pivetti and Arla Foods, tasted tens of pizzas and gave valuable criticism throughout the competition.

This year, AppleCore Foods also had the honour of welcoming the world-renowned Pizza Champion Vasile Lucian as the Arla Mozzarella Malta Pizza Challenge Ambassador & Technical Director.

The Pizza Classica was won by Arseric Srdjan, after being judged on taste, baking and presentation. The runners up in this category were Godfrey Sant and Gilbert Portelli respectively.

In the Pizza Fantasia category, Patrick McBride scored the highest points, closely followed by Arseric Srdjan in second place and Godfrey Sant in third. This category was judged in the same way as the Pizza Classica with additional points given for creativity.

The overall winner of the 2nd Edition of the Arla Mozzarella Malta Pizza Challenge 2016, a prestigious award that combines the total of the overall scores for both pizzas, together with the score for hygiene and presentation, was won by Godfrey Sant, who will be off for an all expenses paid professional pizza course at the world famous Accademia Pizzaioli in Italy. Nathaniel Palmier followed in second place overall and claimed the all expenses paid pizza course in Naples with Master Chef Antonino Esposito. Arseric Srdjan placed third overall and took home a professional set of pizza tools provided by Molini Pivetti.

AppleCore Foods Sales Director, Antoinette Stellini, said in a brief comment during the Awards Ceremony,

“We’d like to wholeheartedly thank all the challengers who participated. We had 50 participants this year, scheduled over two days. They all gave their very best and we’re sure that this experience will help them grow within their profession and strive to improve their art of pizza making”.

“Following this year’s success of what we envision as a national annual calendar event, we truly look forward to welcoming more pizzaioli at the Arla Mozzarella Malta Pizza Challenge next year”. In fact, the next Arla Malta Pizza Challenge will be held on the 29th, 30th & 31st of May 2017.

Click here to view a photo gallery of this event