The History of Pizza

1. The birth of  pizza  

Pizza, bread, donuts, share all the same roots being born with civilization itself. It has more than 6000 years of history and in common to the people that  discovered the way of mincing the wheat and other cereals, particularly the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin such as Babilonia, Greece, Etruria, by simply mixing  flour to water giving to the dough the shape of a disk that would have been cooked on red-hot stones and that is known as maza or picea, pitta, pinsa, pizza in Greece,  placenta or offa or picea in the ancient Rome.Many languages of the Mediterranean area  have similar words meaning flat bread or unleavened bread.

It was in
Egypt  the principle of leavening was discovered and that made bread more digestible and tastier. Some raised pasta  added to some flour and water was enough to transmit to the dough the magic property of raising thus allowing bread to become softer and subsequently it was there that the first oven made with clay bricks set in circle was built.


Ancient Egyptians incorporated flat bread sprinkled with herbs into traditional celebrations for the Pharaoh's birthday. The ancient Greeks  learnt from the Egyptians the craft of building ovens. They gave the oven a dome form, improving on this flat bread by adding assorted toppings such as olive oil, herbs, and other toppings called plankuntos.

2. Its spread in Italy

From the centre of the Mediterranean Sea this new way of making bread landed in Italy. The ancient Romans also favoured this delicious flat bread as a matter of fact bread was the main food and during the rule of Numa Pompilio  celebrations in honour of the Fornace Goddess  the patron saint of ovens and bread were held. Romans imported from Greek the art of making  dome ovens improving it.

Naples is  where this picea would have had through the centuries a big success and  diffusion. But we have to bear in mind one important  thing in the history of this form of bread that would have been later called pizza: the introduction of buffalo breeding.


After the fall of the Roman empire the Longobards that settled in Southern Italy introduced the breeding of  buffalos in the marshlands of Lazio and Campania. The region is, with full rights, still famous for  buffalos and its mozzarellas, made still more famous for their use on the true Neapolitan pizza.

In the Middle Ages the word "pizza"  is already of common use as it is testified in many works. In the following centuries quite different local forms of this term meaning culinary variations are recorded on the theme, from the sweet to the salty, as well as different cooking methods.

3. Pizza in the Renaissance

In Venice, some 1500 cookbooks testify that  pizza was prepared in different ways  as it is today. In those times, pizza was a thin mixing made with a base of eggs, butter, sugar that was cooked in the oven, or fried.
The discovery of
America marks another important step in the history of this food. In Europe, after the discovery of America, many land produce were introduced and that soon became part of our diet such as corn ,  tomatoes, potatoes, beans, peppers, zucchini.

The populations of the North mainly feed on flour made with corn: “the polenta”. Soon corn replaces the cultivation of wheat. The South keeps on  feeding on flat round wheat bread to which  different ingredients and seasonings have been added.

Olive oil replaces animal fats as lard. To the new condiment  cheese and aromatic herbs are added such as  oregano and  basil.

Imported from
Peru, the tomato was used at first in the kitchen as cooked sauce with some salt and basil and only later, someone had the idea to put it on the pizza and in so doing he invented “the pizza”. From then on the era of the modern pizza begins.

4. Pizza in the XVIII and XIX centuries

But it is between 1700s and 1800s that  pizza becomes the dish of the Neapolitan kitchen  more and more loved by people. Pizza made in firewood ovens, is sold in the streets by street vendors, typically young boys, who took their pizza to the streets wearing small tin stoves as a type of hat to keep the pizza warm attracting the attention of the bystanders with the characteristic calls. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, the world's first pizzeria, opened in Naples in 1830, and is still in business to this day. In this period  the habit of tasting  pizza by the ovens besides in the street or at home, is evidence  of the increasing favour met by this food in the Neapolitan people’s diet.

The pizzeria as it is meant today was really born in those times! The elements that characterize it are the firewood oven, the marble counter, the shelves where the ingredients are displayed for the different varieties of pizza, the tables where the customers eat it. In
Naples  someone comes up with the idea of adding mozzarella to the pizza made with tomato, basil and oregano.

After the second world war pizza goes out of the borders of the south of
Italy through the thousands of immigrants that move with their families to the North of  Italy and to European countries such as France, Belgium, Germany, England , where we witness to a faster economic recovery and where the immigrants keep alive their culinary customs. Little by little they begin to make the first pizzas for their town fellows and later also for the other people  paving so the way for the pizza success.


With the fall of the  Berlin wall  (1989), there is a new migration of the pizza towards the countries of the East of Europe, then in theMiddle East, Japanand even in  China.  
Pizza restaurants are opening in such unlikely locations as the
Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire; the South Pacific atoll of Palau; and in most Arab countries.
Today the pizza is an international food, and its combination of Eastern and Western ingredients demonstrates its global roots.

5. The spread of Pizza in other countries


At the beginning of 1900 pizza first lands in great style in America, conquering the whole continent.  In New York, S. Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago pizza is made like in Naples, thanks to the Neapolitan immigrants that bring it as one of  their dietary habits.In late 19th century Chicago, for example, pizza was introduced by a peddler who walked up and down Taylor Street with a metal washtub of pizzas on his head, crying his wares at two cents a chew as it was used to be sold in Naples. It wasn't long until small cafes and groceries began offering pizzas to their Italian-American communities.

Although it is a typical dish of Neapolitan cuisine, it has become an extremely popular dish especially in the USA.

The popularity of pizza exploded throughout the country when World War II servicemen returning from Italy began opening pizzerias and raving about that "great Italian dish."

In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened the first licensed American pizzeria, Lombardi's Pizzeria Napoletana, at 53-1/2 Spring Street in New York City. (From The Art of Pizzaiolo, by John Thorn.) America is the new pizza renaissance leader in the world and is exporting technology of pizza production and promotion on an ever-increasing basis.

From a recent inquiry about young Americans' food choices, made by Sam Ward, U.S.A. Today; it resulted that, on a sample of 12.000 youths of an age among 6 and 14 years, a 24% prefers pizza, while spaghetti are at the second place with a 12%, other Italian meals follow with a 10%, hence fried chicken has the 8%, steak the 7% and only the 6% of all the American boys says to prefer hamburger. It was also found out that in USA many people think that pizza was invented in their country!!

6. Pizza crust

The bread base of the pizza is called the crust. Its thickness may vary widely according to style: thin as in hand-tossed pizza, thick as in pan pizza, or very thick as in Chicago-style pizza. The crust is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with butter, garlic, or herbs, or stuffed with cheese. In some pizza recipes the tomato sauce is omitted (termed "white pizza"), or replaced with another sauce (usually garlic butter but sauces can also be made with spinach or onions).

Pizza is normally eaten hot (typically at lunch or dinner), but leftovers are often eaten cold for breakfast or as a snack.The most typical toppings are: cheese, traditionally mozzarella but often Provolone or a blend of other cheeses, herbs and seasonings such as basil, oregano, and garlic vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, olives, onions, and artichoke hearts meat or seafood such as sausage, (especially pepperoni or salami), ham, bacon, ground beef, anchovies, chicken, tuna, and shrimp. Other common toppings include mushroom and pineapple.

 In America and the UK, anchovies always rank last on the list of favourite toppings. Gourmet toppings are gaining ground in some parts of the country with such toppings as chicken, oysters, chicken, crayfish, dandelions, sprouts, eggplant, Cajun shrimp, artichoke hearts and tuna.

The Italian word for a person with talent for making pizza is pizzaiolo but in English is pizza man and the pizzeria is also called "pizza parlor" especially  in the USA and Canada. Pizza can also be purchased in grocery stores or supermarkets (usually, but not always, frozen); it can be ordered  by telephone (or, increasingly, via the Web) to be delivered, hot and ready to eat, to almost any address within range of the restaurant. This is a well consolidated way of meeting the customer’s needs!

7. Baking methods

In restaurants, pizza can be baked in a gas canister (stone bricks above the heat source) oven, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle called a peel and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal pan that has holes in it like a screen). When making pizza at home, it can be baked on a "pizza stone" in a regular oven to imitate the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.

In home-made pizza, there are many variations on the bread used for crust. In some countries, creations such as pita pizza, bagel pizza, matzo pizza and tortilla pizza are popular, especially with children. In Japan, where full-size ovens are a rarity in the home, pizza toast is a popular version.

8. Frozen pizza

Pizza is also found in supermarkets as a frozen food. Considerable amounts of food technology ingenuity has gone into the creation of palatable frozen pizza. The main challenges include preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. Modified corn starch is commonly used as a moisture barrier between the sauce and crust. Traditionally the dough is somewhat pre-baked and other ingredients are also sometimes pre-cooked. More recently, frozen pizza with completely raw ingredients have also begun to appear, as have those with a self rising crust. Another form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers who take it home and bake it in their own ovens and microwaves.

How did they come up with this idea?

The first frozen pizza in the world was set right just for an air-shipment.
The second world war was on and Francis Ferrari, Italo-American from
Newark, got a letter from his brother Fred who was fighting for the marines corps in Jwo-Jima. " If I could have a pizza" said the letter "like the one which mama made at home, I would put up with all the sufferings".
Mother, Country Home and Pizza! Impossible to withstand this kind of appeal.
After many attemps, Francis managed to invent a pizza, which could endure the air-vojage and reach the marines who were fighting against the Japanese. Coming back from the war, Fred, fed on frozen pizzas, set up together with his brother a society for spreading the novelty all over the world.

Types of pizza

In the 20th century and onward, pizza has become an international food and the toppings can be extensively varied to meet local variations in taste. These pizzas consist of the same basic design but include an exceptionally diverse choice of ingredients, such as anchovies, egg, pineapple, banana, coconut, sauerkraut, eggplant, kimchi, lamb, couscous, chicken, fish, and shellfish, meats prepared in styles such as Moroccan lamb, shawarma or chicken tikka masala (India) , and non-traditional spices such as curry and Thai sweet chili. Pizzas can also be made without meat for vegetarians, and without cheese for vegans. Breakfast pizzas are topped with ingredients such as scrambled eggs. "Supreme" pizzas typically include a thick layer of many different toppings.

9. Pizza styles and specialties in USA

Due to the wide influence of Italian and Greek immigrants in American culture, the United States has developed quite a large number of regional forms of pizza, many bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza in the United States became an iconic dish of considerable popularity, and may have contributed to the decline of the British pie heritage previously common in American cuisine.


New York-style pizza is a style originally developed in New York City, where pizza is often sold in oversized, thin and flexible slices. It is traditionally hand-tossed, moderate on sauce, and moderately covered with cheese essentially amounting to a much larger version of the Neapolitan style. The slices are sometimes eaten folded in half, or even stacked, as its size and flexibility may otherwise make it unwieldy to eat by hand. This style of pizza tends to dominate the Northeastern states and is very similar to the basic style common through the United States and known simply as pizza. It is often referred to as pan-style pizza, but note that Pizza Hut's "Pan Pizza" is a thick-crust variety. Many pizza establishments in the New York metropolitan area offer two varieties of pizza: "Neapolitan", or "regular", made with a relatively thin, circular crust and served in wedge-shaped slices, and "Sicilian", or "square", made with a thicker, rectangular crust and served in large, rectangular slices.

Chicago-style pizza, or Chicago-style deep dish pizza, contains a crust which is formed up the sides of a deep-dish pan. It reverses the order of ingredients, using crust, cheese, filling, then sauce on top. Some versions (usually referred to as "stuffed") have two layers of crust with the sauce on top. Deep-dish pizza was purportedly invented and first served in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno, which is still operating along with its twin restaurant, Pizzeria Due, in the River North neighborhood.

Chicago-style thin crust pizza has a thinner crust than Chicago-style deep dish, and is baked flat rather than in a deep dish pan. The crust is thin and firm enough to have a noticeable crunch, unlike a New York-style pizza, yet thick enough to be soft and doughy on the top. The crust is invariably topped with a liberal quantity of southern-Italian style tomato sauce, which is usually quite herbal or highly spiced, and typically contains no visible chunks of tomato. Next, a layer of toppings is added, and a layer of mozzarella cheese which frequently separates from the bottom crust due to the quantity of tomato sauce. Chicago-style thin crust pizzas are cut into three- or four-inch squares, also known as "party cut," as opposed to a "pie cut" into wedges. The small size of the squares makes it unnecessary to fold the slices. Chicago-style pizza is prevalent throughout the Midwestern USA. A chain that is well known for its Chicago-style thin crust pizza is Home Run Inn

St. Louis-style pizza is a thin-crust style of pizza popular in and around St. Louis, Missouri. The most notable characteristic of St. Louis-style pizza is the distinctively St. Louisan provel cheese used instead of (or rarely in addition to) the mozzarella common to Chicago-style thin crust. The two largest St. Louis-style Pizza chains are Imo's Pizza and Cecil Whittaker's Pizzeria.

California-style pizza (often termed in the United States gourmet pizza) refers to pizza with non-traditional ingredients, especially those that use a considerable amount of fresh produce. A Thai-inspired chicken pizza with peanut sauce, bean sprouts, and shaved carrots is a popular variant in California-style pizza restaurants, as are pizzas that use chicken and barbecue sauce as toppings. Duck, spinach, and goat cheese are also used. The California Pizza Kitchen chain of restaurants was influential in popularizing this style. In addition, there are sweet pizzas in existence, which list jam or peanut butter among others as ingredients.

Greek pizza is a variation popular in New England; its name comes from it being typical of the style of pizzerias owned by Greek immigrants. It has a thicker, chewier crust and is baked in a pan in the pizza oven, instead of directly on the bricks. Plain olive oil is a common part of the topping. Variations in other parts of the country include using feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and Greek herbs such as oregano.

Hawaiian pizza has ham and pineapple toppings and is especially popular in the Western United States. Ham and pineapple is also a popular topping combination in Australia, Canada and Sweden, but notably not in Hawaii. This type is also common within the EU as Pizza Hawaii.

Grilled pizza, invented in Providence, Rhode Island, uses a fairly thin crust cooked on a grill; the toppings are placed on the baked side after the pizza has cooked for a bit and flipped over.

English muffin or French bread pizza and pizza bagel is a common convenience pizza made at home in an oven or toaster, usually with a simple topping of spaghetti sauce, sliced or shredded cheese, and perhaps pepperoni. French bread pizza is sometimes available commercially as a frozen meal.

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There is not a long tradition of Italian pizza in Bulgaria. We can say that Bulgarian banitsa is similar to Italian pizza. We have a traditional dough dish called “luchnik”. It’s made of dough and filled with onion (“luk” in Bulgarian). It is similar to Calzone pizza.

Pizza becomes popular in
Bulgaria in the beginning of the 90’s. Until then we weren’t very familiar with Italian food – pizza and pasta in general.

Every family has its own pizza’s recipe. Most of the people prefer pizza covered with salami and the traditional Bulgarian yellow cheese called “kashkaval”.

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The most known types of pizzas in Hungary

Pizza is a very popular fast food in Hungary which comes from Italy. There is a similar Hungarian national food which is “lángos”. There are hundreds of pizzerias in our country. We can eat pizza at the pizzeria or we have opportunity to order on the Internet. There is a person who brings out that to our home.

Many kinds of pizza exist in our country. The most famous of these is pizza with bacon, tomato, cheese, onion and pepper. Other favourite is Hawaiian which include bacon, corn, pineapple, tomato and cheese. You can also choose pizza with tomato, ham and cheese which is the ham pizza .If you’re a vegetarianist you can choose vegetarian pizza with no meat.

This pizza includes tomato, corn, mushroom, pea and cheese. These are Mediterrian, Miami, Bolognese, Seafood, Mexican but these are more expensive than the others.

In some pizzerias Italian chefs make pizza so it has got original Italian taste. Pizza available in different sizes and prices but we can make pizza at home so it is cheaper

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Typical ingredients of Hungarian Pizza

Pizza is the most and best known dish of Italian cuisine throughout the world.
Everyone, even in the most remote places on earth, has tasted a pizza once in his life. It was born in Naples where it was first seasoned with tomatoes and afterwards with numerous different ingredients and it is a concentrate of the flavours, smells, sensuality and fantasy of this splendid city.

Pizza is popular all over the world and it is found in different countries in the world. People like the original Italian pizzas, but they like to make special pizzas. They put different possents on pizzas and they are called about their country like Hungarian pizza. Hungarian people put a lot of onions, sausages, bacon, eggs, red pepper and cheese, it is spicy a bit but Hungarians like everything that is spicy.Margherita pizza is also popular in our country as well as Hawaiian, Greek and Mexican pizza. Families prefer making pizzas at home because they can put everything they want on their pizza.

If you make a pizza at home, it is not as expensive as in the shops. A good recipe is also important for making pizza and in recipe books you can find a lot of various recipes which are not the real Italian ones but that are still good. If you want to get a real Italian recipe, it is really difficult. Italians do not like to give their own recipes to others.


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