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The History of Pizza

Whether you prefer a big cheesey American-style pizza or a thin and crispy Italian pizza, it’s undeniable that this meal is delicious and hugely popular! Since everyone loves it so much (we certainly do), we thought we’d do our research into the history of this tasty treat. Read on for the story of pizza, where it originated and a few fun facts that you probably didn’t know.

Where it began

The beginning of pizza is much disputed, with Italians claiming it derives from focaccia bread with tasty toppings. However, Greeks also claim ownership of this popular dish, with their traditional large, flat, round bread topped with whatever they could get their hands on. And have you ever considered the link between the names pitta and pizza? There’s no way to really know where this cheesy delight originated, but we’re voting Italian since they make them so well.

After dishing up pizzas at home for many years, the worlds first pizzaria opened in Italy in 1830, with an interesting story to tell. Replicating today’s hot wood-fired ovens, pizzas were baked in an oven that was lined with lava from a local volcano, ensuring that the oven was hot and pizzas were cooked in seconds! This definitely sounds like a good way to get the pizza we’ve come to expect from an Italian restaurant, with a thin base and delicious melted cheese.

The history of pizza as we know it

Pizza as we know it, with classic tomato, mozzarella and basil toppings, derived from a desire to create something that celebrated the Italian royal family, with the colours representing the Italian flag. Of course, this classic topping has varied over the years, with loads on offer today. The weirdest we’ve heard of are the common Japanese toppings of squid and Mayo Jaga (a mix of mayonnaise, potato and bacon).

A few pizza facts

In researching the history of pizza, we found a few facts that we think every pizza lover should know, including some evidence that pizza is actually good for you!

  • That tasty tomato topping contains lycopene, an ingredient proven to help reduce the risk of cancer. Next time you eat pizza, you can know that you’re not just doing it for your tastebuds, but your health too!
  • It’s believed that early pizzas were sweet rather than savoury. Nutella pizza, anyone?
  • The most expensive pizza ever made cost $2745 and was topped with edible gold. Thankfully Mamma Mia pizza prices are far more reasonable.

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