Everglades Pizza: Python, Gator, Frog Are Toppings at Pizzeria

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It used to be that ordering a pizza was pretty easy -- choose between plain, pepperoni, or sausage. Sometimes you could get all fancy-schmancy and order extra cheese or mushrooms (canned, obviously).

Now, pizzas are complicated. Items like artichoke, prosciutto, bacon, and truffles adorn our pies. This freedom allows us to enjoy short rib and caramelized onion pizzas or dessert pizzas with nutella and bananas. So, in this world of "anything goes", it stands to reason someone would finally represent the state of Florida on one pie.

Introducing the Everglades pizza, available at Evan's Neighborhood Pizza (2973 Palm Beach Blvd) in Fort Myers).

It starts with your basic dough, sauce, and cheese. It then takes your taste buds on a virtual airboat ride by adding alligator, hog, frogs legs, swamp cabbage, and python. Special Everglades seasoning gives it a punch of flavor.

Avis Daniell, partner at Evan's Neighborhood Pizzeria (and wife of Evan), tells Clean Plate Charlie that although the pizza is all Florida -- the python isn't. "We ship it in from an exotic meat distributor. It's farm raised. It has to be."

So what does python taste like? Chicken (as the old joke goes)? Ummm...nope.

"It tastes like snake," deadpans Evan Daniell, creator of the beastly pie.

Avis Daniell says that the popularity of the Everglades pizza, available in a 14-inch size only, has astounded even her. "The locals here eat alligator, that's no big deal. But they really want to try the python. Then, they bring their friends from out of town to try it. And we get a lot of tourists who want to eat python, too. It's so unique to Florida."

The Everglades pizza comes at an exotic price, too. At $45, it's more than double the cost of a simple twelve-dollar alligator pizza (which actually half-priced during the month of January -- a real steal). Daniell explains that at $66 per pound, python is expensive. Hence the dearness of that particular pizza.

Still, the Everglades pizza is in strong demand, especially for special occasions. "People love ordering it for birthdays and celebrations," Daniell explains.

If you're in Fort Myers, it's worth trying. Then you can at least say you've really had a taste of the true Everglades...without the mosquitoes.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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