French pizza chef makes Lille’s first cannabis dough

The pizza flour includes hemp, which is originally from the cannabis plant, but contains almost no THC

A pizzaïolo in Lille (Hauts-de-France) has created the city’s first ever legal pizza dough made with cannabis.

Claudio Nigro, chef at the VIP Pizzeria in Saint-André, has managed to keep the meal legal by using hemp flour, purchased from a local organic food shop, rather than leaves or oil of cannabis itself.

Hemp, which originally comes from the cannabis plant and has the botanical name of “Cannabis Sativa L”, is legal in France. It contains less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element in cannabis that causes users to become “high”.

Despite this, orders for the pizzas have risen by 30% since the new flour’s introduction, and have even attracted a visit from four local police officers keen to check out the legality of the new dish.

Chef Mr Nigro said: “They came to check that everything was legal. In France, we are still at the stage where this sort of thing makes people scared. It’s like I’ve offended a religion. But there is nothing extraordinary about it. I know that in ten years, this will be normal. I want to be a trailblazer in this area.”

He explained that the hemp flour has significant health benefits; contains a good source of protein and fibre, and is easily digestible.

He said: “I am passionate about nutrition and in my work, I try to unite pleasure with gastronomy and health. I have always liked adding things to my organic flour.

“I started with bran, then rye, and then recently I’ve put in hemp. It is just like any other flour [but] has an added nutty taste.”

The VIP Pizzeria serves the hemp pizza dough with a healthy topping of fresh tomatoes and mixed salad leaves, as well as a ball of burrata cheese.

In defence of the legality of the flour, and the lack of THC in it, Mr Nigro said: “My aim is to feel like I am on another planet [not because of THC, but] simply because of the quality of the ingredients."

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