A man in Guatemala has reportedly mastered the art of making pizza in a volcano, and his efforts are now going viral. According to a report by AccuWeather, David Garcia cooks his homemade pizza on the banks of "a river of lava" running down the Pacaya volcano. The results are delicious, his friends say.
Garcia reportedly preps his pizzas like any other cook, but he is not satisfied with slipping it into an oven or onto a grill. He treks out to the Pacaya volcano instead and lays his baking sheet beside a lava river, which winds down the hillside under a protective awning of volcanic rocks. Garcia wears thick protective gloves and a mask to protect him from fumes and drifting ash. He must judge the temperature by eye and even needs to be vigilant that the pizza doesn't drift away, but he told reporters it is all worth it.
"It was difficult for me to learn the technique here so the pizza doesn't [get] burnt. And it is also a risk to be on the shore because it is at a high temperature of 1,500 to 2,000 degrees, so I have to watch the wind direction so it doesn't affect me," he said. He began this endeavor in 2013 but took it one step further in 2019 when he started a business called Pizza Pacaya.
Still, Garcia insists that something about this unique method brings out a triumphant, satisfactory flavor in his pizza. Even if it's just the novelty of it all, he said that works for him too, since his experiment has now become a profitable tourist attraction. AccuWeather even published a photo of Garcia standing by the lava river with a shirt that reads: "I ate pizza at the volcano Pacaya."
Garcia is not the first to cook by the heat of a volcano — scientists studying the Geldingadalsgos volcano in Fagradalsfjall, Iceland reportedly cook hot dogs for lunch there. Garcia said that he first saw the technique used by tour guides who would roast marshmallows with tourists on Pacaya. He decided to see if he could take the idea even further.
"I took the idea and I wondered what else could be cooked with the lava," he said. "So one day I prepared a pizza, took it to the volcanic rocks and in 14 minutes it was ready. The high temps from the nearby lava gave it an exclusive taste and an amazing crunch. I told myself, 'This needs to continue.'"
Garcia's distinctive business model has weathered the coronavirus pandemic, and tourists still appreciate it when visiting the country. One told reporters: "You don't see this anywhere else, and the fact that there's a pizza chef in the heart of the volcano is impressive and unique in the world," while another added that the pizza had a "magmatic crunch."
Pacaya is a very active volcano and is undeniably dangerous, but Garcia said it's worth the risks. "Some call me crazy, but the passion for cooking is sometimes crazy," Garcia said. "But it's a feeling that is fulfilling, it satisfies, and I like to see tourists getting a new life experience."