In 2006, production wizard Dillon Wardwell enjoyed the Death: By Garlic gourmet pie and, on a whim, whipped up a Zappi with similar ingredients. Lesley overheard Dillon talking about his tasty Zappi and said, “Dude- I gotta try that. Will you make one for me sometime?” They set up a time to try it again, this time duly recording the weights of each ingredient. It was delicious! It needs to also be added that part of Lesley’s interest was because she was the designer of the Death: By Garlic gourmet pizza in the first place!

Lesley told Howard about the cool idea and together they set out to explore the boundaries of this new concept.

Over the next three months of tasting, testing and developing, we experimented with a dozen variables ranging from the positioning of the garlic inside the Zappi (under or above the spinach), to how we roasted the garlic in the first place. We tried using sourdough (the default dough for Zappies) and settled on Original because there’s garlic in it! We experimented with adding Mrs. Dash (an ingredient in the DBG pizza); we played with the amounts of onion, artichoke hearts, and zucchini until we found the perfect amounts; we tried adding pretzel salt to the top, like a garlic bagel; and, most importantly, we tested the amount of garlic.

We had to ask ourselves: How much is too much garlic? It is, after all, called the Death: By Garlic Zappi and it needs to be food folks will love having multiple times.

The recipe Dillon started us with used a total of 9 cloves of garlic: 7 roasted, 2 chopped fresh. That’s no scrawny amount of garlic: 9 cloves! To bracket it, we had to know how much is too much. So, we tried it with 15 cloves (12 roasted, 3 chopped fresh). The next day, the tasters shared tales of woe – we resolved that when the garlic lasts into breakfast the next morning, it is simply too much! Turns out, the perfect number is one dozen cloves of garlic: 9 roasted and 3 chopped fresh.

We were pretty confident about the dozen-clove Zappi and decided to have an unveiling for the crews. And then after a few more tests we were ready to unveil it to our customers. We put out sign-up sheets in the stores and collected a dozen willing victims. We gathered together one Sunday afternoon and tasted the new Zappi. All the tasters agreed that the balance of garlic was optimal, and this included feedback from one guest who is a self-proclaimed “garlic fanatic!”

The succulent Death: By Garlic Zappi is built on an olive oil glaze, with fresh spinach and zucchini, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, romano and provolone cheese, chopped onion, and fresh garlic. We are proud and confident that it’s the most fun you can have with a dozen cloves of garlic.

P.S. While many people missed days of work due to cold or flu, none of the tasters fell ill during the 3 month testing of this Zappi.