Every August in the quaint city of Boise, Idaho two magnificent ideas collide. The Flying Pie, (aka the best pizzeria in the Treasure Valley) and the full effect of habanero season equate for a pizza that’s as devilishly delicious as it is incinerating to the pallet. Pepperheads behold: the Triple Habanero Pizza!
Habaneros have strong flavor and quite a bit of kick, hovering around 300,000 Scoville heat units.
Although the habanero is extremely hot, it’s considered to be somewhat mild compared to the ever expanding tolerance level of hot pepper junkies.
The Flying Pie: The Best of the Best
The Flying Pie is arguably the best local pizza place in my beloved city of Boise, ID. It has won the local award for Best Local Pizza, 8 years in a row! On top of all the pies being world class, every year in August The Flying Pie combines their wondrous pizza making skills with a spicy counterpart: the habanero pepper.
That Habanero Pizza
There are three heat levels available for this mouth-burner of a pizza. The Single, Double, and Triple Habanero Pizzas all offer an intense amount of habs from the Yucatan Peninsula in Southern Mexico. What sets this pie apart is the fact that peppers are on the top of the cheese and cooked in under the cheese as well. Here’s the basic formula for a 12” pizza of each varying degree:
-Single: 6 habaneros, roughly equal to 5 lbs of jalapenos
-Double: 12 habaneros, roughly equal to 10 lbs of jalapenos
-Triple: 18 habaneros, roughly equal to 15 lbs of jalapenos
Food Network Celebrity, Adam Richman (Man v Food) has tried the Triple Hab Pie. After one bite, Richman exclaimed, “it’s like licking a sea urchin!”
Furthermore, here’s what a loyal Flying Pie customer had to say about the pizza:
Dear Flying Pie,
I would like to personally thank the sadist responsible for creating the Triple Habanero. When I purchased this Demon Pizza, I was cocky; overconfident; full of myself. I could not be defeated by a simple pizza. Alas, I was wrong.
Therefore, I thank you, Flying Pie, for putting me in my place.
Next life goal: convince The Flying Pie to create a habanero popper pizza simply because that sounds downright delicious!
Cloud 9 Brewery Sweetened the Honey Pot
As if this yearly pizza ritual couldn’t get any better, I was fortunate enough to be a part a special annual event held by my favorite local pub Cloud 9 Brewery. Every year the staff of Cloud 9 has a huge pizza party complete with all levels of the habanero pie. I was lucky enough to be a +1 to the event.
I arrived to the party casually late and started things off by drinking a palatable NSN (Never Say Never) IPA. Shortly after, the pizzas arrived. There were a few standard, non-spicy pies presented, but the variances of the Habanero Pizza radiated intimidation among the partygoers. My pizza endeavors began by smothering my piece of Samoan (Hawaiian-style) pizza with sriracha.
More beer was consumed as I gained confidence in myself and what I was about to do. Fortunately, I had a game plan. I would eat one of each of the levels of pizza, gradually working my way up to the head honcho Triple Habanero.
As I consumed a slice of the Single Habanero I thought to myself, “Really?! Is that all?” and I found myself feeling increasingly confident with each passing bite. Reaching for a slice of Double Habanero, I made a startling revelation; there wasn’t any of that type ordered, only the Single and Triple Habanero were present.
This is where I goofed. Expressing my plan to try each of the levels of heat, I caved to peer pressure from my friends at the gathering. They all suggested that I simply eat two pieces of the top tier spicy pie. Naturally, I lifted two pieces of hot-as-lava pizza. After taking a single bite, I knew that this pie packed a real punch. I felt it from my lips, all the way down into my stomach.
One thing is certain, The Flying Pie is extremely on point in everything they do. The environment of the place is friendly, relaxed, and very inviting. And the positive vibes only start there. The quality of ingredients in the pizzas turned out at Flying Pie are top quality.
The Nitty Gritty on the Triple Habanero Pizza
The heat is there, but the flavor is as well! The Flying Pie uses a badass brick pizza oven and the crust is out of this world. Personally, no other pizzeria comes close in the surrounding area. Garlic and buttery flavors highlight a fantastic original red pizza sauce, and all of the topping are complimentary. Even the parmesan cheese is exceptional; none of that cheap pre-packaged crap!
This is pizza S-P-I-C-Y! Way more than I would have expected from something without peppers in the ridiculous 1 Million+ Scoville range. That being said, it’s not the way it stacks up on the Scoville scale that makes this pizza so fiery, it’s the sheer volume of habanero peppers. There are a lot of habaneros on this pie, I mean a lot!
The Triple Habanero smelled incredible, the Triple Hab leaves your nose hairs burning in the best way. However, the piece of Samoan pizza I ate beforehand had the best and heaviest pizza aroma I’ve ever experienced. Samoan smells get a 10/10, the habanero monster trails slightly behind.
When I opened the first box of the Triple Hab Pie, the first thing I noticed was the pizza’s beautifully symmetrical appearance. More often than not, pizzas are thrown together but not these pizzas. The toppings looked carefully positioned, the consistency of the crust was a perfect golden color, and the habanero peppers practically sparkled.
The Effects of Too Much Capsaicin
My mouth was completely on fire by the end of my third piece of habanero madness. It was surprisingly comparable to the slow-burn of a bite of Ghost Chili Pepper. The capsaicin hit me like a 100 mph brick wall. Sweating, watery eyes, and a burst of endorphins set the “hot pepper high” in motion.
In the shuffle of the intense oral heatwave, beer was the drink closest to me. I foolishly drank down the alcohol in an attempt to rid my mouth of the fiery blaze. Another mistake on my part because that does absolutely nothing to help the burn.
A scholarly piece by University of Cincinnati professor Joel E. Mortensen studied capsaicin. This article titled “The Power of Capsaicin,” explains how to aid in extinguishing the burn associated with too much capsaicin:
“Solubility is the key to ridding a person’s mouth of that burning sensation when eating spicy food. Although one might want to grab a glass of water to put out the fire, the long hydrocarbon ends of capsaicinoids do not dissolve in water. To be dissolved and eliminated, capsaicin must be in solution with similar hydrocarbon molecules or certain proteins. Fats, oils, and alcohols are superior choices as solvents. For example, dairy products such as milk and yogurt are effective because the milk protein casein can dissolve fatty capsaicin molecules.”
Luckily the owners of Cloud 9 Brewery came prepared, as I was not. Ice cream sandwiches were handed out to sooth the mouths of those who partook in the epic battle of human v capsaicin. While I can’t say that there was a clear cut victor in said battle, I now know the limit of how much habanero pepper I can consume. As always, Flying Pie did not disappoint.
A yearly event, that just continually gets better
If you are ever driving through or visiting the Boise area, it is worth your time to stop at both places mentioned in this article. Flying Pie Pizzeria and Cloud 9 Brewery are both locally owned and have a unique spin on what they do. If it’s ridiculously spicy pizza you crave, make your way to Boise at the end of summer and introduce some capsaicin-based glory to your life.