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Taste the ‘Best Pizza in the World’ in Madison, Alabama

At Valentina’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar in Madison, they call it the “Award Winner” — a traditional pizza topped with South African Peppadew peppers, Sweet Italian sausage, fior di latte and sweet Italian sauce.

This is the pizza Joe Carlucci made at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas to claim the title “Best Traditional Pizza in the World.”

Carlucci describes it as a little different.

“It’s sweet and spicy,” he says. “Our dough is fermented for 7 days.”

He’s made pizzas for 30 years but says the competition wasn’t easy, advising, “Best Pizza in the World for Traditional is the hardest one to win because there’s only two toppings.”

Carlucci says he’s competed over 250 times all over the world for 20 years.

“I give God all the glory,” he states. “And my staff for putting up with me for the past three months. They are a big part of this win, this is the pizza they chose.”

(Joe Carlucci/256 Today)

After taking the top title in the traditional category, Carlucci competed in a second separate competition the next day, going against every division winner. Carlucci says you cannot use any of your own ingredients except your dough.

He adds, “So it’s whatever the judges give you, including a secret ingredient.”

Carlucci was awarded second in that competition, while first place went to an Italian competitor.

Things have been busy at Valentina’s since the competition. There was a line 12 people deep waiting before they opened on a recent Friday. Carlucci says he gets up at 3:30 a.m. to start the weeklong process of making the dough.

The hard work has paid off, not only for Valentina’s but for our region, he says.

He beams, “This is for the whole state of Alabama and the South, we now have the bragging rights over New York, we have the best pizza in the world!”

Valentina’s is located in the city of Madison in Limestone County at 25951 Huntsville Brownsferry Road. Inside and bar seating fill up quickly however, patio seating in front of their famed mural is also available.

Carlucci asks me to add one more thing – Valentina’s is hiring.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn how to make real, traditional pizza.”

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