Pizza may have been born in Naples, Italy, decades after the tomato arrived in Europe. At least, that was probably the first time the word “pizza” was used.
Where Was The Pizza Born?
Originally a dish for the poor, the original Neapolitan pizza was sold on the street with various toppings. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, the first Italian pizzeria, started making pizza in 1738 as the dish grew in popularity, especially among tourists in Naples.
One of the most iconic pizzas was born in Naples, and there’s even a royal anecdote – not sure if it’s true. It looks like this pizza was born in the city at the end of the 19th century. The pizzaiolo – the pizza master – created it to commemorate the visit of King Umberto I and his wife, Margherita. From all the pizzas they tried, the queen chose her favorite pizza, the Margherita. It’s tomato, mozzarella, and basil pizza in the Italian flag colors (the country was reunified a few years ago). The point is that a good pizza doesn’t need more toppings to taste great.
Pizza is mainly eaten in Italy and by expats there. That changed after World War II when Allied troops stationed in Italy began enjoying pizza and other Italian delicacies.
Pizza today is a bread and tomato dish, usually served with cheese. However, until the late 19th or early 20th century, the dish was sweet rather than salty, and earlier savory versions were more like the flatbread now known as Schiacciata. Pellegrino Artusi’s classic cookbook of the early twentieth century, La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di mangiar bene, contains recipes for three sweet pizza types. However, in 1927, Ada Boni’s Collection of Regional Cuisine included a recipe using tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
How Is Pizza Made?
Typically, pizza is made with a flat pizza base, topped with tomato sauce, decorated with various toppings, then topped with a generous amount of cheese and cooked. Toppings in America have changed dramatically over the years, creating new pizza toppings every year.
Today’s pizza is a far away from what was created centuries ago. But pizza is still considered pizza, with centuries of social, economic, and technological change incorporated into each slice.
Wheat And Water
Back then, like today, pizza was made with yeast dough and usually topped with cheese, herbs, and tomatoes. It is sold through street vendors carrying pizza boxes and cutting the ordered pizza to the desired size. As pizza has grown in popularity, the number of pizza toppings and suppliers has also increased.
According to the association, Verace Pizza Napoletana must be made using flour, natural or brewer’s yeast, water, and salt. Pizza can only be prepared by hand or in some mixers officially approved by the organizing committee. After resting, the dough must be stretched by hand without using rollers or mechanical equipment. When baking, the pizza must be placed in a wood-fired oven at 485ºC with no other utensils on the oven surface.
What's Your Reaction?
Zoe Williams is a British Chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu London. Zoe worked as a Sous-Chef in a few restaurants in Tokyo and Dubai, and now she is ready to start her new journey as a Chef at Morimoto Restaurant in Doha, Qatar.