These flatbreads from around the world are more than just international takes on pizza

These flatbreads from around the world are more than just international takes on pizza

North Americans have a knee-jerk tendency to label any roundish combination of bread, sauce and toppings as “pizza”. Call it brainwashing by Big Slice, but it’s a habit that overlooks the elemental nature of doughy rounds from around the world. Despite the differences between these globe-spanning flatbreads, they all have something in common: they’re definitely not pizza.

Pissaladière

Where it’s from: Nice
Thin yet sturdy pastry crust serves as the base for black olives, anchovies, roasted roma tomatoes and a layer of caramelized onions so soft and creamy that it’s easy to forget this niçoise specialty is fromage-free. $9.25 for two slices. Bonjour Brioche, 812 Queen St. E., 416-406-1250, bonjourbrioche.com.
 
 

Lahmacun

Where it’s from: Armenia and Turkey
While it appears cracker-light, lahmacun packs a deceptive heft thanks to a thin layer of sauce made craggy with ground lamb or beef. Popular throughout the Middle East, it’s served with pickled peppers, slices of raw onion and tomato, and fresh parsley. $8.99. Pizza Pide, 949 Gerrard St. E., 416-462-9666, pizzapide.ca.
 
 

Manakeesh

Where it’s from: Lebanon and Syria
Humble manakeesh requires little more than a brushing of olive oil and a heavy dusting of za’atar, though creamy labneh, seasoned ground beef and mild accawi cheese are popular toppings. (Also good: dipping a piping-hot hunk in a side of hummus.) From $2.99. Paramount Fine Foods. Multiple locations in the GTA, paramountfinefoods.com.
 
 

Pide

Where it’s from: Turkey
Pide looks like a maritime vessel transporting a precious—and delicious—cargo. This one’s chock full of mozzarella and Turkish sausage, but pide can also be stuffed with pepperoni, roasted lamb, chicken, ground beef and egg. From $7.99. Mr. Pide, 800 Danforth Ave., 647-351-7433, mrpide.ca.
 
 

Flammekueche

Where it’s from: Alsace
Also known (and more easily pronounced) as tarte flambée, Alsatian flammekueche seems uncannily pizza-like, until one examines the toppings: a traditional take usually features a creamy white sauce covered with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms and lardons. From $12. 3 Brewers. Multiple locations in the GTA, les3brasseurs.ca.
 
 

Khachapuri

Where it’s from: Georgia
With its wide body, tapered ends and hollowed-out middle, khachapuri is basically a cheese canoe. Since traditional sulguni cheese is hard to find in these parts, a salty-creamy blend of molten mozzarella and feta usually takes its place, topped with a shmear of butter and a runny egg. There’s no way to eat it without making a gloriously gooey mess, so ask for extra napkins. $10. Aragvi Restaurant, 2006 Hwy. 7 W., Vaughan, 905-597-5197, aragvi.com.