There are only a few nations that can say their national dish has become an international phenomenon and one of those is Italy having two popular dishes which are pasta, and of course, pizza.Pizza is one of the most popular dishes in the world that’s why many claims to have created the world’s first real pizza. But have you ever wondered where and how pizza began? If you’re also curious, then read on because we’re going to give you a slice of its history.
Origins of Pizza
The word “pizza” is thought to have come from “pinsa”, a Latin word that means flatbread. However, there is much debate about the origin of the word as well. The word pizza was first documented in Gaeta in 997 AD and consecutively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy.
According to a legend, Roman soldiers gained a taste for Jewish Matzoth while they were stationed in Roman-occupied Palestine and they have developed a similar food after returning home. But based on recent archaeological discovery, a preserved Bronze Age pizza was found in the Veneto region.
In 1861, Italy unified and in 1889, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples. Based on legend, they became bored with their steady diet of French haute cuisine that’s why they asked for an assortment of pizzas from Pizzeria Brandi, the successor of Da Pietro pizzeria that was founded in 1760.
Queen Margherita enjoyed the variety called pizza mozzarella, which was a pie topped with soft white cheese, green basil, and red tomatoes. From then on, that combination was dubbed pizza Margherita.
Even though the Queen gave her royal blessing to the pizza, pizza did not become well known outside of Naples until the late 1800s when Italians began to migrate to America carrying their tastes and recipes with them.
Introduction of Pizza in the United States
The journey of pizza in the United States began with Italian immigrants in New York. In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria which is now known as Little Italy. He began the entire lineage of NYC pizza made in the classic New York style using a coal oven and thin crust.
The pizza business boomed by the 1930s and Italian-Americans opened up pizzerias across Manhattan, New Jersey, and Boston. Before the 1940s, the pizza was limited mostly to Italian immigrants and their descendants. It had its international breakthrough after the Second World War. In 1943, a Texan living in Chicago named Ike Sewell invented a deep-dish style pizza at Pizzeria Uno. And just like the pizza made by Lombardi in New York, the new style he created spread across the city of Chicago.
California, during the late 20th century, invented its own style and it could be viewed as a return to the pre-modern pizza styles of 16th century Naples. Its toppings varied and it included ingredients such as truffles, artichokes, goat cheese, and other vegetables for a healthier California style. This style was invented by Ed LaDou, who was eventually hired by Wolfgang Puck to create pizzas for his new restaurant named Spago. But in the mid-80s, LaDou left Spago and he became a minority partner in California Pizza Kitchen where he created the famous barbecue chicken pizza.
The real propagation of pizzas occurred with the arrival of the pizza chain. In 1958, Pizza Hut opened, followed by Little Caesar in 1959 and Domino’s in 1960. In 1989, Papa John’s opened and each of these restaurants had the idea that they would sell pizzas to the masses.
Introduction of Pizza in Canada
In the 1960s, Pizza Pops were introduced, which are Canadian calzone-type of snack. During those times, pizza chains can be found across Canada such as in neighborhood plazas, schools, and shopping centers. These chains mostly offer a sit-and-dine facility for customers.
Canadian Pizza is the most distinct pizza in Canada. It usually includes tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, and mushrooms. There are other variables for this type of pizza but what makes it distinctly Canadian are bacon and mushrooms.
Pizza in Canada is served on different crust types including a traditional-style pan crust, a thin crust, multi-grain crust, whole-grain crust, and a gluten-free crust. There’s also a Pizza-ghetti in the province of Quebec which is a combination meal usually found in fast food or family restaurants. It is made of a pizza that is sliced in half and a small portion of spaghetti with a tomato-based sauce.
In 1962, a pizza topped with pineapple and ham, or the Hawaiian pizza was invented in Canada by Sam Panopoulis, a restaurateur at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. Some of the most successful pizza brands in Canada are Boston Pizza, Pizza Pizza, and Vanelli’s.
Pizza gained popularity across Canada that’s why major American pizza chains such as Domino’s, Little Caesars, and Pizza Hut have expanded their locations in Canada as well.
Naples’ Neapolitan Pizzas Protection
Pizza is indeed one of the most consumed meals in the world, most particularly in the United States.In fact, there are approximately 5 billion pizzas bought annually and 3 billion of which are in the United States alone. And today, pizza continues to enchant hungry consumers. There are new combinations of crust, toppings which are created daily and most of them are influenced by local cuisines and traditions.