Do you know your pinsa from your pizza?

SA's first authentic pinseria has opened in Paarl

18 November 2020 - 11:58
While pizza is round, pinsa is oval in shape.
While pizza is round, pinsa is oval in shape.
Image: Pinsa/Burger Engelbrecht.

An Italian original like its Neapolitan cousin the pizza, the pinsa hails from ancient Rome. While both dishes are built on a foundation of dough, it’s the ingredients that go into this dough that really differentiates the two.

Pizza dough is made from wheat flour alone, while pinsa dough features a combination of rice, soy and wheat flours, which are mixed with ice cold water (80%) and minimal salt. It’s then cold fermented for 72 hours, which breaks down the starches and is said to make it more easily digestible.

It also makes it lighter than pizza dough. Pinsa is often referred to as a “cloud” of pizza: it’s crisp on the outside with a soft pillowy centre that cushions the toppings beautifully. A pizza is fairly flat in comparison.

The name pinsa stems from the Latin word “pinsere”, which means “to push, stretch and extend” and describes the manner in which the dough is shaped by hand into an oval, whereas a pizza dough is traditionally rolled out into a round.

Both are ideally baked in a wood-fired oven and can feature an array of toppings, though the pinsa has far less cheese than a pizza and so is less calorific.


For Capetonians, SA’s first authentic pinseria can be found at the Freedom Weekend Market in Paarl.

The man behind it is entrepreneur Andrey Tarasov, who relocated to SA from Moscow, Russia, in 2018. He was so inspired by the pinsas he enjoyed in Florence on his many business trips that he decided to create his own food brand, Pinsa.

Thanks to its light dough, a pinsa is sometimes referred to as a 'cloud' of pizza.
Thanks to its light dough, a pinsa is sometimes referred to as a 'cloud' of pizza.
Image: Pinsa/Burger Engelbrecht

Artisanal baker and chef Ciska Rossouw, whose passion is ancient bread-making traditions, heads up the Pinsa stall at the market and she’s on a mission to create the best pinsas this side of Italy.

Prices range from R55 for a kids' margherita to R150 for large pinsas. Gluten-free options are also available.

The market boasts a spacious outdoor eating area with wooden tables and a dedicated children’s play area.

Pinsa is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 4pm. Find it at the Freedom Weekend Market: 301 Wemmershoek Rd, Paarl. For more info, check out the Pinsa website.