Hosting a Pizza Party

Turn a special occasion into a multicultural and cheese-filled celebration.

Want to infuse cultural flair into your child’s next birthday or another special occasion? Here are secrets to hosing an international affair all ages will cherish with a cultural pizza party.

Get set to put a tasty spin on America’s favorite food and invite kids to decorate their own pizzas, while experiencing tastes from different cultures at the same time. Pizza is a food all children can relate to, yet the toppings, spices and ingredients that may be incorporated create unique flavor combinations. By enjoying diverse ingredients in pizza form, children introduce new flavors to their palate and discover food from other regions without being scared off or grossed out.

Take the pizza party a step further by making decorations to suit a particular theme. Also consider planning culture-specific activities, such as pottery painting or dressing up like Greek characters for a Greek pizza party.

To stock up for a cultural pizza party, purchase store-bought pizza dough from a pizzeria or the grocery store to keep things simple. From there, get the ingredients and follow the directions for the pizzas you’d like to serve. Feel free to add embellishments to the party to complement the dishes, like decor from a flea market or specialty store that portrays Lebanese, Greek or Chinese elements. Maybe friends from different countries could also share recipes or small dishes evocative of other places around the globe. After all, there’s a world of great possibilities for an unforgettable and transporting affair.

Lebanese Caramelized Onion and Pine Nut Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound onions, finely sliced
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ c. toasted pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of ground all spice
  • ½ Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • ½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F and place a large baking tray inside to heat up. Heat up the olive oil in a large pan. Add in the finely sliced onions. Let them sauté for a bit on medium-high heat and then turn down to low and add in the sugar, cinnamon and all spice and season with salt and pepper. Let the onions caramelize. Once caramelized, add in the pomegranate molasses and the lemon juice. Turn the heat up for a couple of minutes and then set the mixture to the side to cool. Roll out the dough into small individual size pizzas. Spread on the onion mixture. Place a couple of pizzas at a time on the hot baking tray. Let this bake for 10-15 minutes, allowing the pizza to get golden. Once done, take out of the oven and sprinkle on some pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Greek Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Handful of Kalamata olives
  • 2 c. Feta cheese
  • 6 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbs. dried or fresh oregano
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • ½ c. olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Insert a baking tray to heat it up. Roll out individual sized pizzas. Place some tomato slices, olives, a couple pieces of onion, a nice amount of feta (I crumble it in my hands and sprinkle on top) and a pinch of oregano. Sprinkle on a touch of salt and drizzle on some olive oil. Place on the hot tray and let bake on high for 10-15 minutes. Take out the pizza and drizzle on a bit more olive oil and serve hot.

Chinese Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1½ pounds Chinese broccoli
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1½ tsp. freshly grated garlic
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • Handful of freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. oyster sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F with a large tray inside. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Place the Chinese broccoli in the pot for a minute, then take it out and place in a bowl of water with ice in it. Leave in ice cold water for a couple of minutes before taking out and patting dry. In a large pan, fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic and ginger. Toss in the Chinese broccoli with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let this cook for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning. Allow the mixture to cool before placing it on the dough. Put an even layer on individually rolled pizza dough. Place in the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes. Take out and drizzle on an oyster sauce along with sprinkling on toasted sesame seeds and some cilantro. Serve hot.