"Leopard spots” (also called “leopard-spotting” or “leoparding") are the black charred spots on the end crust (cornicione) of a pizza. The term is sometimes used for the bottom crust as well, but that’s better known as “char.”
The terminology was probably coined by “David” posting on the Pizza Making Forum on June 10, 2005:
“I notice that after looking a numerous pictures of pizzas produced at DaMichelle and Trianon that they seem to have an intense amount of very small blisters that I have taken to refering to as ‘Leoparding’.”
The pizza blog Serious Eats—Slice popularized “leopard-spotting” on August 5-6. 2009.
Pizza Making Forum
« on: June 10, 2005, 02:55:09 PM »
I notice that after looking a numerous pictures of pizzas produced at DaMichelle and Trianon that they seem to have an intense amount of very small blisters that I have taken to refering to as ‘Leoparding’.
Posted 28 July 2007 - 07:03 PM
PIZZA tonight. While in Rochester, Veneto is probably one of the best places for a good wood fired pie (although for eating-in the waits can sometimes be horrendous), but for eat-in or take out pizza on the east side of Rochester, I suggest trying Slice of Napa in Victor. (...) The oven particularly the deck is probably not as hot as those in the true Neopolitan tradition as the pizzas take several more minutes to cook than the blazing 800 degree ovens that give the crust char and leoparding that pizza aficionados are often after.
RE: Burnt Pizza Crust - Yay or Nay? Thu, 12/27/07 8:52 AM (permalink)
In my opinion the above pizza has a burned crust. Even with high temp ovens (some in Naples cook a pie in 60 seconds), what you are looking for is some dark spots or leoparding; not solid blackness all around the edge. Here’s a pic taken from pizzamaking.com that shows a home cooked pie with a pretty good example of leoparding.
Pizza Making Forum
Re: Source for Caputo Pizza Flour in the San Francisco area
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2008, 05:09:13 PM »
Leoparding is only associated with Neapolitan pizzas. If you want a proper neapolitan pizza you need a neapolitan wood burning oven with a low dome.
6:11PM ON 08/05/09
I think the quattro formaggio looks very lame, although it has more leopord spotting on the outer edge of the cornicione than the other pictures, which is what I personally prefer.
Word Coinage: ‘leopard spotting’
AUG 6, 2009
Friend of Slice Pizzablogger uses a word from the pizza-crit lexicon that I’ve never heard before: leopard spotting, obviously a reference to the little blisters of charred material along the pizza’s end crust (or cornicione).
Usage: “I think the quattro formaggio looks very lame, although it has more leopard spotting on the outer edge of the cornicione than the other pictures, which is what I personally prefer.”
Pizzablogger picked up the term from Paulie Gee.
Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer
Stephen Starr is doing just pizza and doing it right: Artisan slices, simple to decadent, consistently excellent and affordable.
By Craig LaBan, Inquirer Restaurant Critic
POSTED: January 10, 2010
The “leoparding” is gorgeous, he says, indicating the perfect constellation of charry dots and heat blisters scattered across the crust.
Glossary: crust terminology
JAN 6, 2011
Leopard-spotting is a subset of charring — it’s the little spots of char that occur on the rim of the pizza. Sometimes large or sometimes pinprick-size. True pizza nerds would not refer to the blackened spots on the undercarriage as leopard-spotting — that’s just char.
Do You Speak Pizza?
Posted by Kristin Johnston,Waukesha County Realtor Buyers Agent,Waukesha Cty WI Real Estate on 09/08/2011 09:52 AM
Leopard Spots: The air bubbles that swell in the crust when it bakes. Seeing a few of these means the dough has been properly fermented, and your slice will be light and airy!
Pizza Making Forum
Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
« on: November 15, 2011, 09:42:28 PM »
Black char spots, big and small, along with a cornicione filled with giant voids. That is my goal.