And so I did, hate pizza, with one or two notable exceptions. That is until I discovered Gastone Pizza Alla Pala, and its phenomenal pizzaiolo, Gianni. Every day Gianni makes fresh dough, preparing it so it's just the right consistency - and then he leaves it to stand for 48 hours. Then he rolls the pizza in semolina flour and drapes it over his arm so it falls naturally into long, long ovals, which he bakes on wooden paddles until they are ready to be "topped."
And how! From simple "white pizza" with just a few herbs and spices, to a full blown veggie pizza with aubergine (eggplant), courgettes (zucchini), tomatoes, black olives, mozzarella, mushrooms, sometimes even cabbage and anchovies, to pizza topped with ham and cheese, chorizo sausage, tomato basil, pizzas that have been split into two so they are filled on the bottom piece and their "hat" put back on them, pizzas of up to 40 varieties. Something you don't see that you want? Ask Gianni.
These pizzas are sold differently too. You choose the one you want and tell him how much - an inch, 3 centimeters, whatever - and Gianni takes scissors and cuts a strip of pizza which he weighs and puts back in the oven to crisp up and heat through.
Yes, you buy it by the weight - as much or as little as you like.
And if you have room for the ultimate dessert? Ask Gianni for a dolce pizza, a round paper thin pizza, again cut through the middle of the dough, like filling a cake, and he takes a huge 5kg jar of Nutella from which he scoops out huge dollops of delicious chocolatey hazelnutty heaven and slathers it on the pizza base. Then he tops the pizza with its other half, sprinkles confectioners sugar on it, and cuts it into small pieces for you to enjoy -- slowly.
But wait - there's more.
Gianni has another variation on the dolce pizza that he shared with us. Make it the same way but cut a big hole in the center so it looks like a giant open bagel. Do the aforementioned slathering with lashings of Nutella, sprinkle the confectioners sugar and then - piece de resistance - a generous helping of mango ice cream in the middle.
Gianni taught me that great pizza does exist, in a tiny store front opposite the Hotel Martinez, just off the Croissette.
If you're in Cannes for a festival and you miss Gianni at Gastone, you've missed a rare taste of heaven.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.