Pizza is a yeasted flatbread generally topped with tomato sauce and cheese, baked in an oven. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about our favourite food!
1.The word “pizza” first appeared in a Latin text from the southern Italy town of Gaeta, then still part of the Byzantine Empire, in 997 AD; the text states that a tenant of certain property is to give the bishop of Gaeta duodecim pizze (“twelve pizzas”) every Christmas Day, and another twelve every Easter Sunday”.
2. Byzantine Greek and Late Latin pitta > pizza, cf. Modern Greek pitta bread and the Apulia and Calabrian (then Byzantine Italy) pitta,[a round flat bread baked in the oven at high temperature sometimes with toppings.
3. The word pitta can in turn be traced to either Ancient Greek πικτή (pikte), “fermented pastry”, which in Latin became “picta”, or Ancient Greek πίσσα (pissa, Attic πίττα, pitta), “pitch”, or pḗtea, “bran” (pētítēs, “bran bread”).
4. The Italian word pizzicare meaning “to pluck”, which refers to pizza being plucked quickly from the oven (pizzicare was derived from an older Italian word pizzo meaning “point”).
5. The Lombardic word bizzo or pizzo meaning “mouthful” (related to the English words “bit” and “bite”), which was brought to Italy in the middle of the 6th century AD by the invading Lombards.
6. Foods similar to pizza have been made since the neolithic age.
7. Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history.
8. The ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese,and in the 6th century BC, the soldiers in Persian King Darius I’s armies baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields.[15
9. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy in the 18th or early 19th century.
10. Prior to that time, flatbread was often topped with ingredients such as garlic, salt, lard, cheese, and basil.
11. It is uncertain when tomatoes were first added and there are many conflicting claims.
12. Until about 1830, pizza was sold from open-air stands and out of pizza bakeries, and pizzerias keep this old tradition alive today.
13. A popular contemporary legend holds that the archetypal pizza, pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita.
14. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pizza swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella).
15. Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen, although recent research casts doubt on this legend.
16. Pizza was brought to the United States with Italian immigrants in the late nineteenth century, and first appeared in areas where Italian immigrants concentrated.
17. The country’s first pizzeria, Lombardi’s, opened in 1905.
18. Following World War II, veterans returning from the Italian Campaign after being introduced to Italy’s native cuisine proved a ready market for pizza in particular.
19. Since then pizza consumption has exploded in the U.S.
20. Pizza chains such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s, pizzas from take and bake pizzerias, and chilled or frozen pizzas from supermarkets make pizza readily available nationwide.
21. It is so ubiquitous, thirteen percent of the U.S. population consumes pizza on any given day.
22. Pizza is prepared fresh, frozen, and as portion-size slices or pieces. Methods have been developed to overcome challenges such as preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts.
23. Another form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is assembled in the store, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens. Some grocery stores sell fresh dough along with sauce and basic ingredients, to complete at home before baking in an oven.
24. Mozzarella is commonly used on pizza, with the highest quality buffalo mozzarella produced in the surroundings of Naples. Today, other cheeses have been used as pizza ingredients, including provolone, pecorino romano, ricotta, and scamorza.
25. Less expensive processed cheeses have been developed for mass-market pizzas to produce desirable qualities like browning, melting, stretchiness, consistent fat and moisture content, and stable shelflife.
26. This quest to create the ideal and economical pizza cheese has involved many studies and experiments analyzing the impact of vegetable oil, manufacturing and culture processes, denatured whey proteins and other changes in manufacture.
27. In 1997 it was estimated that annual production of pizza cheese was 1 million tonnes (1,100,000 short tons) in the U.S. and 100,000 tonnes (110,000 short tons) in Europe.
28.Authentic Neapolitan pizza (pizza napoletana) is typically made with San Marzano tomatoes, grown on the volcanic plains south of Mount Vesuvius, and mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio.
29. This mozzarella is protected with its own European protected designation of origin.
30. Other traditional pizzas include pizza alla marinara, which is topped with marinara sauce and is allegedly the most ancient tomato-topped pizza,pizza capricciosa, which is prepared with mozzarella cheese, baked ham, mushroom, artichoke and tomato, and pizza pugliese, prepared with tomato, mozzarella and onions.
31. A popular variant of pizza in Italy is Sicilian pizza (locally called sfincione or sfinciuni), a thick-crust or deep-dish pizza originating during the 17th century in Sicily: it is essentially a focaccia that is typically topped with tomato sauce and other ingredients.
32. Until the 1860s, sfincione was the type of pizza usually consumed in Sicily, especially in the Western portion of the island.
33. Other variations of pizzas are also found in other regions of Italy, for example pizza al padellino or pizza al tegamino, a small-sized, thick-crust and deep-dish pizza typically served in Turin, Piedmont
34. Common toppings for pizza in the United States include ground beef, mushrooms, onions, pepperoni, pineapple, garlic, chicken and sausage.
35. Distinct regional types developed in the twentieth century, including California, Chicago, Greek, and New York styles.
36. The first pizzeria in the U.S. was opened in New York’s Little Italy in 1905 and since then regions throughout the U.S. offer variations, including deep-dish, stuffed, pockets, turnovers, rolled and pizza-on-a-stick, each with seemingly limitless combinations of sauce and toppings.
37. The world’s largest pizza was prepared in Rome in December 2012, and measured 1,261 square metres (13,570 sq ft).
38. The pizza was named “Ottavia” in homage to the first Roman emperor Octavian Augustus, and was made with a gluten-free base.
39. The world’s longest pizza was made in Naples in 2016. It was baked using a series of wheeled ovens which moved along its length, and measured 1.85 kilometres (1.15 mi).
40. The world’s most expensive pizza listed by Guinness World Records is a commercially available thin-crust pizza at Maze restaurant in London, United Kingdom, which costs GB£100.
41. There are several instances of more expensive pizzas, such as the GB£4,200 “Pizza Royale 007” at Haggis restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland, which has caviar, lobster and is topped with 24-carat gold dust, and the US$1,000 caviar pizza made by Nino’s Bellissima pizzeria in New York City, New York.
42. However, these are not officially recognized by Guinness World Records. Additionally, a pizza was made by the restaurateur Domenico Crolla that included toppings such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, medallions of venison, edible gold, lobster marinated in cognac, and champagne-soaked caviar. The pizza was auctioned for charity in 2007, raising GB£2,150
43. National Pizza Month is an annual observance that occurs for the month of October in the United States and some areas of Canada.
44. This observance began in October 1984, and was created by Gerry Durnell, the publisher of Pizza Today magazine.
45. During this time, some people observe National Pizza Month by consuming various types of pizzas or pizza slices, or going to various pizzerias