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Londoner’s Hemp Pizza Delivers Healthy High

Posted on March 16, 2000

By Brodie Fenlon, The London Free Press

London, Ontario — Londoners are buzzing over a new pizza that features an ingredient that’s a close cousin of marijuana.

The “Cheech and Chong,” a hemp-inspired pie developed by London’s World Famous East Town Pizza, debuts tomorrow.

Created by East Town owner and expert pizza designer Dino Ciccone, the Mexican-flavoured pizza is sprinkled with crunchy hemp seeds, then drizzled with the plant’s thick oil.

That’s hemp, as in a variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L.—a close cousin of marijuana.

But before reefer madness sweeps the Forest City, Ciccone stresses the only buzz pizza lovers will get from his new gourmet pie is a healthy high.

Hemp, legalized in Canada in 1998 after a 60-year-ban, has little or no THC—the chemical that produces the hallucinogenic effect of marijuana.

Seeds and oil from the hemp plant, which is used to make everything from rope to hand lotion, are high in fatty acids and protein.

But with a street value of about $12 for a 250-millilitre bottle of the oil, the stuff is pricey, Ciccone says. A large pizza, topped with chicken, beef, sour cream, olives and onion, will sell for $19.99.

The seeds have a nutty flavour, and the pea-green oil tastes like crushed sunflower seeds.

Ciccone, who’s designed several pies for his four-restaurant chain, says he always carries a pen and paper in case the pizza muse gives him an idea for a new flavour.

“I’ll be driving down the road and I’ll think about combinations,” he says. “I can visualize flavours in 3-D.”

And yes, he adds, he remembers the 1960s.

Illustration: photo by Susan Bradnam, The London Free Press

Copyright © 2000, The London Free Press. All rights reserved.