June 30, 2018 / 1:36 PM / a year ago

Soccer: St Petersburg pizza art gives fans a shot at biting Suarez

Cook Valery Maksimchik prepares a pizza decorated with a portrait of Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo at the Hop Head cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - A restaurant in St Petersburg has struck a chord with the hordes of soccer fans in town for the World Cup by serving up pizzas featuring the faces of some of the tournament’s biggest stars.

Ahead of Saturday’s last 16 match between Uruguay and Portugal in Sochi, football fans who visited the HopHead Tap Room bar in St Petersburg were given a chance to turn the tables on Luis Suarez and take a bite out of the Uruguay striker.

Uruguay’s record scorer arrived in Russia looking to dispel the memory of his infamous bite on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is the other player featured in chef Valery Maksimchik’s unique pizza art, and the edible portraits are a big hit with soccer fans and the restaurant’s regulars alike.

“It really does have a bite,” said one satisfied customer, while chewing his way through a slice of Suarez.

Each soccer pizza portrait takes nearly two hours of careful stencilling and cutting. The dough is cooked before the stencilling process and then the cheese is melted into position.

“We started doing this in connection with the World Cup, we support football and sport through this method,” said Maksimchik, who has also made pizza portraits of Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov and striker Artem Dzyuba.

“My main work is as a pizzaiolo, but this is a hobby, so it brings me pleasure, like any hobby would.”

The chef has promised to make pizza portraits of each Russia player if the hosts go all the way and win the World Cup.

Reporting by Parniyan Zermayalai in St Petersburg; Writing by Simon Jennings; Editing by Ken Ferris

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