Great pizza by the (new) book

Can there be too much pizza? Or books about it? No and no.

New on the pizza front is the gorgeously photographed “Passion For Pizza: A Journey Through Thick and Thin to Find the Pizza Elite” by restaurateurs Craig Whitson and Tore Gjesteland (Agate Surrey, $30, 300 pages).

The first half of the book is a tour of great pizzerias (and interviews with their owners) in the U.S. and Italy, with stops in San Francisco and Naples, of course.

In S.F., the authors visit Tony Gemignani at his iconic Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. He’s chef-owner of Sacramento’s Pizza Rock (and seven other pizza-centric restaurants), 11-time world pizza champion, Food Network pizza gold medalist and author of “The Pizza Bible” (Ten Speed Press, $30, 320 pages).

Gemignani, who grew up in Fremont, also operates the International School of Pizza in San Francisco. There, chefs gather from around the world to be certified as “pizzaiolos” (expert pizza-makers), in accordance with the “strict guidelines and theory of the Scuola Italiana Pizzaoli” in Italy.

The second half of the book takes home pizza-makers to school, showing techniques, exploring ingredients, and demystifying the magic combination of flour, tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, basil and cured meats. One more “ingredient” is explained: mastering the oven.

Then come the recipes for pizza, calzone, focaccia and more. Who would have thought that honey and bacon can co-exist in harmony atop a pizza pie?

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.