What does real pizza look like? Where did pizza come from? For decades, it has been discussed millions of times what are the true origins of pizza. Is Pizza from America? Hell NO! Glancing at history in Europe shows that without a doubt it comes from the Mediterranean areas, and it has become diluted among an infinity of local varieties. The idea of eating flat bread with additional seasons, spices, herbs or ingredients has been used since hundreds of years ago, starting with ancient Greece. They used melted cheese to go with the flatbread. Also, in Italy, it was prepared with herbs and olive oil, which is what we know today as focaccia. Later on after the arrival of tomatoes to Europe, in the late XVIII century, the inhabitants of the poorest areas of Naples decided to use these shiny red round things to cover a piece of flatbread, and this created the starting moments of pizza’s birth to the world.
Founded in 1984, the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana” (True Neapolitan Pizza Association) only recognizes two kinds of pizza: Marinara and Margherita. First, Marinara pizza is composed of tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, olive oil and basil. Far from what we might think in the actual days, Marinara does not include any fish or seafood. Instead, the name of this pizza is given because it was the food fishermen’s ate after coming back from their duties at Naples Bay. Then we have Margherita pizza; prepared with basil leaves, mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes. On 1889, in the celebration of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita Teresa de Saboya’s visit, a man named Rafaelle Espósito created three different pizzas to serve them. Queen Margherita chose the one she liked the most, basing her selection in the colors, which reminded her of Italy’s flag colors: The red from the tomato sauce, the white from the mozzarella cheese, and the green from the basil leaves. So in her honor, this pizza is called, “Pizza Margherita.”
Pizza has extended its horizons and has traveled many places around the world, developing new flavors and adding to its list of many different ingredients and transforming pizzas into what we all know today. Currently, there is an infinity of combinations to top onto a pizza, and every person has their favorite ones. Still, there are some common ingredient mixes that we all share in taste, and because of that, these combinations have their given names. Going to a pizzeria can be quite a challenge for those indecisive ones, because of the wide variety of combinations.
From the Greek “Pepperoni Pizza”, or ham and cheese, to the nutty Hawaiian flavor, moving to the daring “Meat Lovers”, there is always an ingredient combination to fit your expectations. But if you do not find what your hunger is asking you, there is always the possibility to make a personalized order and create a type of pizza on your own. Ingredients, size and even the thickness of the bread (extra thin, regular and thick) are never a problem; you can always choose the one you prefer, and try a different type of pizza every time. There are new ideas to pump up the pizza, like using dip sauces to go with the left edges and even a cheese-filled edges pizza.
The process of making a pizza is pretty much the same from the classic Italian: giving the wanted shape and thickness to the bread dough, putting tomato sauce and topping with cheese and other ingredients. The “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana” establishes that the pizza bread should be handmade, the diameter size should not be over 35 centimeters, and the thickness should not be over one centimeter in the center of the pizza. The best way to cook pizza is by baking it in a wooden stove. Although the pizza we make today is a bit away from the original Naples pizza, and from the officially recognized types “Marinara” and “Margherita,” truth is one way or another we all love pizza, at the end of the day no one can reject a slice of good old pizza.