WHAT IT IS?
When you hear the word volcano, your mind probably goes to fire, eruption and danger and you are likely to stay away… Or not? A chef from Guatemala thinks otherwise. He has started a pizzeria at the top of a volcano, baking pizzas on the hot flow of its lava. This volcano, called the Pacaya, is located in Guatemala and has erupted no less than 23 times since 1565. It has become an attraction for tourists from all over the world. It was here that the chef Mario David García Mansilla saw an opportunity for a challenging new business.
The taste of the pizzas baked by volcano’s lava is uniquely different compared to a normal pizza from the oven. The lava and smoke are roughly 800 to 2.000 degrees Celsius, baking the pizzas in less than 10 minutes. To get his ingredients to the top of the volcano, Mario David Garcia has to walk with about 60 pounds (27kg) worth of ingredients and equipment on his back, plus any special ingredients that the guests request beforehand. Last time the volcano was really active: February 2021! The chef has to check the wind direction at all times, so he is not caught by the heat while baking his pizzas.
WHY IT´S COOL?
There is no other place on the planet where pizzas are prepared on top of a volcano. It is a unique and new experience. David Garcia’s ‘Pacaya Pizza’ business has become extremely popular, in addition to the volcano attracting many tourists. In a world where food is becoming more and more about the experience, this concept hits all the right notes. Consumers desires not only a product but also an experience that they will remember.
WHY IT HAS FUTURE GROWTH POTENTIAL?
Of course, it is questionable whether Pacaya Pizza has future growth potential since the volcano could become more dangerous or possibly erupt at any moment. However, since a lot of people like something distinctive and something that stands out, it is not surprising that many chefs are experimenting with new ways of cooking food and at distinctive locations. Having said that, it is becoming increasingly more popular to experiment with cooking on a volcano. For example, scientists in Iceland are experimenting with cooking hot dogs over Mount Fagradalsfjall. So, who knows, in a few years you might be eating a delicious three-course meal on the top of an active volcano! Last but not least, this volcano experience invites all people with an entrepreneurial mind to find their own distinctive and slightly dangerous place to start a new restaurant.
For further information about Pacaya Pizza please visit https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/pizza-pacaya