Ah, the internet. What wonderful gifts it has given us. Thanks to Google, a wealth of information sits at our fingertips. Social networking sites let us connect with people all over the world, in an instant! We live in a glorious age.

But for all its treasures, the world wide web can often expose us to much, much darker things. For example, cybercrime, Donald Trump’s Twitter account and photos of other people’s disgusting food creations.

The great pineapple on pizza debate has divided people for centuries (probably), and I suspect is what spurred on this recent trend of doing unholy things to pizza.

“If we can’t defend this great evil, we must outdo it,” say the anti-pineapplers. “If we can’t convince the naysayers, we must distract them,” say Team Pineapple (go #TeamPineapple!!).

And so, the war rages on, as more and more people continue to test the boundaries of all that humanity holds sacred. The humble, yet perfect creation we call pizza.

As an keen pizza aficionado myself – and someone who never shies away from a weird food challenge – I made it my mission to sample all of these strange and beautiful creations. It’s not always been an easy journey. In fact, at times, it’s led me down some very dark paths. But what can I say, I didn’t choose this life – it chose me.

The pea and mayonnaise pizza

Described as the ‘abomination’ that unites anti-pineapplers and #TeamPineapple, this didn’t actually look so bad to me. I didn’t cook the mayonnaise onto the pizza (I’m not a lunatic), so I basically just tipped a can of peas onto a Margarita pizza, garnished with a drizzle of mayo when cooked and hoped for the best.

The verdict?

Delicious. Would (and have since on many occasions) eat again. I even tracked down the creator of this tasty little number, so I could thank them personally.

I also cheerfully responded to a great deal of backlash.

— Melissa Boyle (@geekmagnifique) March 2, 2017

Rating: 5/5

GlassesGlassesGlassesGlassesGlasses

Pizza dipped in milk

Sure, I like a nice cold glass of milk to dip my Ginger Nuts in, or Oreos if I’m pushing the boat out. But hot, savoury food? I wasn’t too sure. I know some people have cold milk with their dinner though, so while I found the idea bizarre, I could sort of see how it had evolved.

Here goes:

The verdict?

Meh. A truly unremarkable experience. The best thing I can say about it was it wasn’t awful.

Rating: 1/5

Glasses

The Swedish banana pizza

So this is an actual thing that appears on menus in Sweden, apparently. Naturally Twitter got wind of it, Buzzfeed wrote a post about it, and I swiftly decided it needed to get in my face.

Despite being obsessed with all things Scandinavian, it’s safe to say I had very low hopes. I don’t like cooked banana or curry powder, so a recipe that calls for both of these things to be thrown on a pizza? Nah, you’re alright. But, I’d committed to this culinary expedition of mine, so I couldn’t exactly back down, could I?

Besides, I was starting to get a bit of a reputation.

Guys, I’m about to do weird things with pizza. pic.twitter.com/zDdHkTfZwF

— Melissa Boyle (@geekmagnifique) March 5, 2017

People, as I’d come to expect, were very supportive and encouraging.

Here it is, in all its glory:

The verdict?

I’m sorry Sweden, I love you very much, but you’ve really screwed the pooch with this one. It’s just awful. I couldn’t even bring myself to swallow it, so I did something I never thought I’d do: I SPAT OUT PIZZA. There are many controversial toppings out there, but in my opinion this is the worst to ever besmirch a pizza.

Hella nope.

Rating, in minus figures:

GlassesGlassesGlassesGlassesGlasses

Seriously guys, I can’t stress this enough. DO NOT EAT.

Strawberry pizza

It wasn’t long before the flurry of confused and angry tweets simmered down and it seemed my brief but illustrious career as a weird pizza taster had ended as quickly as it started. My stomach (and Dave, who was starting to eye me with suspicion and fear whenever I entered the kitchen) thanked me.

But alas, it would seem there is no limit to our imagination where pizza is concerned, and pretty soon people were at it again, putting things on pizzas that don’t belong there.

This time, strawberries. As usual, the internet was divided. Some branded it an abomination (apparently that word gets used A LOT when it comes to pizza), while others suggested it could be an interesting twist on the Hawaiian pizza. I was more inclined to agree with the former.

It was time for me to rise to the challenge once again.

As you can see, being in this line of work has hardened me; after the banana pizza debacle I learned it’s safer not to cover your whole pizza with your topping of choice.

Smort!

The verdict?

This one was genuinely a puzzler. Initially I thought I hated it. The texture of the cooked strawberry was weird and the various flavours mixed together weren’t doing it for me. But, my gut told me to persevere (well actually, my gut was screaming ‘ABORT MISSION’, my intuition however, told me to keep going) and after two or three bites I was quite enjoying it. The sharp tang of the strawberries complemented the cheese, in the same way sweet chutneys or grapes make a nice addition to a cheese board. I’d possibly eat again.

Heck, I might even put strawberries on the whole damn thing next time.

Rating:

GlassesGlassesGlasses

So there we have it

My foray into the strange and wonderful world of disgusting internet pizzas has come to an end (for now). But watch this space, because I’m always on the lookout for strange foods to put in my face.

Which reminds me. I’ve got some doughnuts to make.

Hummus doughnuts tweet

Wish me luck.

EDIT: While looking through my old tweets, I came across this. So I guess this is happening too.

Help.

The lovely folk at Franco Manca Bournemouth very kindly invited me to attend their press event recently. Being a MASSIVE pizza lover, how could I say no?

We were welcomed at the door by lovely staff, who offered us a drink from a selection of wonderful sparkling wines, beer and the most delicious homemade lemonade I’ve ever tasted.

We were seated shortly after and from this point we enjoyed what I can only describe as a constant stream of food brought to our table.

We sampled amazing meats, focaccia bread with homemade pesto and burrata so good I’ve had dreams about it since.

The burrata of dreams!

Then we moved onto the main event: the pizzas. All Franco Manca pizzas are made with sourdough and fresh, simple but delicious toppings. We tried so many it’s hard to say which one was my favourite, but if you’re a fan of goat’s cheese, I have to say the goat’s curd is divine.

The wine was flowing freely as well, with the highlight definitely being a biodynamic (no, I had no idea either) sparkling red. I’ve never tried anything like it – smooth and mellow yet refreshing, with a light fizz. Wonderful.

Thankfully, we had a little break before dessert, at which point we had a go at making some pizzas ourselves. The chefs guided us through the process and it was great fun to have a go at picking our own toppings and use the giant paddle to put our pizzas in the oven.

The fab Kirsty having a go. Check out her vlog of the event here.

I pull some lovely faces.

The gorgeous Emma with her pizza creation!

My finished pizza.

Dessert was a wonderful selection of cakes, including tiramisu (an Italian favourite!), chocolate and hazelnut cake, and my personal favourite, a lemon and rosemary semolina cake served with natural yoghurt and honey. The perfect balance of sweet and tart, it was a great way to end what was admittedly a very rich meal!

I felt thoroughly spoiled as the drinks continued to flow and we enjoyed coffees and Limoncello, a cheeky digestif.

Cheers!

The service was wonderful and the food was honestly incredible – I would highly recommend! I also loved the simple, modern decor of the restaurant, with its beautiful, open kitchen offering you the chance to watch your food being freshly prepared.

Bournemouth’s Franco Manca is attached to Debenhams, and one quirky feature of the layout is that they have a door leading straight into the menswear department!

Everything, from the staff to the music, lent itself perfectly to the chilled, friendly atmosphere, making this not only a delicious, but thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

Find your nearest Franco Manca here!