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Adventurous man turned a nearby volcano into a pizza oven

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 5/12/2021 Adriana Navarro

There's a certain technique to cooking pizza with a volcano -- one that David Garcia has had to master in order to not burn the food or himself.

The first steps are simple -- knead and shape the dough, place it on a pan and dress it up with sauce, mozzarella cheese and toppings. Then, donning thick, protective gloves, Garcia places it on the bank of a river of lava that snakes under jagged volcanic rocks of Guatemala's Pacaya volcano.

a man standing in front of a mountain © Provided by AccuWeather
David Garcia cooks pizzas using the fiery temperatures of Guatemala's Pacaya volcano. (AFP)

Over a river of lava, Garcia has to gauge a few things, one of which is making sure the pizza doesn't drift away. The second is making sure the lava isn't too hot.

"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," Garcia told AFP.


But after his first time biting into a magma-made pizza, he found the risk was worth the taste and perhaps an attraction for tourists.

"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," Felipe Aldana, a tourist in the area, told AFP.

Tourist Kelt Van Meurs told AFP that not only was the pizza tasty, but it had a "magmatic crunch."

This method of cooking has also been used earlier this year by scientists studying the Geldingadalsgos volcano in Fagradalsfjall, Iceland, who used the heat to cook some hot dogs for lunch.

a slice of pizza © Provided by AccuWeather
To cook the pizza, David Garcia places the pan over the hot volcanic rocks. (AFP)

Pacaya volcano serves as both Garcia's oven and a tourist attraction despite its near continuous activity. As recently as March, the volcano had been spewing ash up to 1,640 feet from its crater. The ash had been reported falling over El Rodeo and El Patrocinio communities, and a lava flow had even cracked the west flank of the volcano, the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology reported.

By late April, the Pacaya National Park reopened to tourists, and Garcia got back to cooking.

For those not as adventurous as Garcia but want to make homemade pizza this summer, check out these more traditional pizza ovens.

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