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Reviews and Awards

Cannova's delivers a slice of excellence

Freeport Journal Standard - FREEPORT, SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 2005— A Freeport native will soon be competing on an international stage. Invented by Pat Beckman of Cannova's Italian Cuisine, "The Chicken Tuscany" is one of only four original pizzas from throughout the world that has been chosen to compete for the title of "Pizza of the Year" in the Pizza Festiva 2005 Pizza of the Year Recipe contest at this year's International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, March 29-31.

According to Bill Oakley, executive vice president of expositions for Pizza Expo, the contest sponsors - Pizza Today Magazine and the California Milk Advisory Board -narrowed the field to four finalists from a pool of more than 300 international applicants.

Pizza Today has named Cannova's one of the 100 best independent pizza makers in the nation more than once

In the past, the contest involved more finalists and several categories, but this year it's winner-take-all. One pizza will win the title and the $2,500 grand prize based on its visual appeal, practicality, marketability, originality and overall value to the consumer.

"This year, we're just looking for the best pizza," Oakley said. It's not the first time Cannova's pizza has received recognition from the media or the pizza-making industry. Pizza Today has named Cannova's one of the 100 best independent pizza makers in the nation more than once. Pizza Pacesetters, The Chicago Reader, the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Times have all written about the restaurant at one time or another.

But it's the first time Cannova's pizza will go head-to-head with competitors for an international title.

"It's very exciting," said Beckman, who will travel to the expo with his family in March. "This is the top pizza convention in the (world)."

The Chicken Tuscany recipe, he said, is one he designed, at least to some extent, for entry in competitions. To win a title like Pizza of the Year, a pizza has to have a special flair.

"You could have the greatest pepperoni pizza in the world and it wouldn't get far," Beckman said. "It gets so subjective."

The Chicken Tuscany starts with Cannova's classic Italian pizza crust and olive oil, spread with a mixture of mayonnaise and honey mustard, then topped with garlic, tomatoes, chicken breast, red peppers, red onions and ricotta cheese and finished with balsamic vinegar and oregano.

"It's a tricky pie to make," Beckman said.

So far, Beckman doesn't know who he's up against, and might not until he goes to Vegas. For those who want to try the dish that might just be designated the best pizza recipe in the world, the Chicken Tuscany is now available at Cannova's.