For the second year in a row, Florina Pizzeria and Paninioteca was declared the winner of the “People’s Choice” in the third annual Boston Pizza Festival on July 13 and 14 at City Hall Plaza.
“It was such an honor to be voted ‘Best Pizza- People’s Choice’ for two consecutive years (2018/2019),” wrote Barry Proctor, who co-owns the pizzeria at 16 Derne St. with John Cucinatti. “More exciting was to see all the friendly faces coming by to support us – many neighbors from Beacon Hill and North End, as well as some commuters. Our close friends and family were there, enjoying pizza and cheering us on. It felt like the slogan/# hashtag we often use ‘Food, Family, Friends, Florina.’”
Besides three vendors from Naples, Italy – Bocconcino, Da Peppe e Figli, and Starita a Materdei – the festival featured a selection of Boston pizzerias including Regina Pizzeria, Cafe Quattro, Sal’s Pizza, Pasta Beach, Fioritaly, Cucchiello Bakery, Wicked Cheesy, Rina’s Pizzeria & Cafe, Parziale’s Bakery, La Famiglia Fornaciari, Casa Mia, Le 5 Stagioni, Tammy’s Pizza Cones, Bertucci’s, The Nutella Pizza Stand, Pompeii Pizza, Pheonix Rising Pizza, The White Bull Tavern, MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza + Bar, Upper Crust Pizzeria and Union Park Pizza. Other Northeast pizzerias on hand for the festival included The Jersey Pizza Boys and Cipolla Rossa. The contestants, who were handpicked by the festival’s co-directors Giancarlo Natale and Raffaele Scalz, all used the same brick ovens provided by Marra Forni.
Florina offered four different slices in the festival – the classic cheese; pepperoni (a/k/a “Roni”); homemade porchetta with calabrese pepper; and last year’s “People’s Choice” winner “The White Margherita,”with basil, fresh mozzarella, garlic and tomato on a white pizza.
Proctor described the event as “family friendly with great entertainment.”
“The event was well organized,” Proctor wrote. “It was a perfect platform to showcase your product and let people know where you are, what you do and give them a little glimpse into your livelihood. They had the largest turnout since the Festival debuted…but lines were manageable and products were reasonably priced. It was nice to be part of something that was grown right here in Boston – big shouts to the organizers and other vendors.”
Proctor encourages readers to follow Florina Pizzeria and Paninioteca on Instagram at @florinapizza.