Local Flavor

Pizza dough toss contest teaches kids to play with their food

July 23, 2014

The only thing better than eating pizza is throwing it 10 feet into the air.

The Elkhart County 4-H Fair held a kids-only pizza dough tossing contest Wednesday, July 23, hosted by Antonio’s Italian Ristorante in Elkhart.

"Dough tossing started a long time ago; does anybody know why we toss the dough?” Paul Cataldo, owner of Antonio’s, asked the crowd of about 40 people.

"To make the dough bigger. That’s the No. 1 reason,” he said.

Tossing the dough also lets air hit it on both sides, which makes for a crispy crust in the oven.

"You can also do it for entertainment purposes as well,” Cataldo said.

Kids anxiously awaited their turn to compete as "Mambo Italiano” played over the loudspeaker. 

Some whipped and twirled the dough above their heads like naturals. A few of the younger ones held onto their dough for dear life.

Not Sofia Oliva, though. She was champion of the 6-9 year old category, which earned her a free ice cream at the Dairy Bar.

She was tossing pizza dough over her shoulder, above her head and under her legs long after the competition had ended.

Her favorite part, though?

"Winning!” she said.

The contest also featured a demonstration by some expert tossers.

Hop Harper, 20, learned how to throw dough after working for Cataldo for three years. He gave an impressive show before the competition along with Antonio Cataldo, Paul Cataldo’s son.

"The hardest part is keeping your balance,” Harper said. “After that, it’s easy to get down.”

Check out the video below to see their skills in action.

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