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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (WHNT) – One local pizzeria is bringing some hardware back from an international conference.

Joe Carlucci from Madison’s own Valentina’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar made pizza that was ranked as the best in the International Pizza Challenge’s Traditional Division and Southeast Region. During the annual competition, a panel of chefs, food critics, and others from across the pizza industry judged Carlucci’s pizza based on:

  • Taste
    • Crust
    • Sauce
    • Cheese
    • Toppings
    • Overall Taste
  • Visual Presentation/Appearance
    • Bake
    • Visual presentation

The pizza was made with Carlucci’s own ingredients; show management provided ovens, equipment, and refrigeration. As the division winner, Carlucci received a $7,500 check and trophy, along with a check for $500 and a plaque for winning the region.

Valentina’s posted a message from Joe on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

First I want to say nothing in my life would ever happen without God and I give all the glory to him. Second I want to thank my staff for everything from their hard work to challenging me to raise my own bar. I want to thank our amazing customers for the support the past two years. To my right hand man and the person that has leveled me off and kept me leveled Kyle Muenstermann your loyalty to Valentina’s and myself is more then I could have ever imagined. I could never have accomplished this without you. This was a team effort. We will have the pizza that won 1st place on special all month!

Joe Carlucci

In the Pizza Maker of the Year competition, a mystery-ingredient competition pitting division winners against one another for the title of World Champion, Carlucci’s pizza placed second, losing to a competitor from Italy.