Virtually anywhere across the world a delicious slice of pizza is a delight that very few can say no to. It might not be the modern creation many people may think as the Greeks and people living around the Mediterranean were already topping their flatbreads using all manner of things such as herbs, oil and tomatoes.
However, over the years Pizza became a treat amongst the poorer cosmopolitans. Most notably, in Naples during the 18th century two pizza styles were created which purists considered to be the real pizza. Margherita, topped with olive oil, mozzarella and tomato sauce; and Marinara, topped with olive oil, garlic and oregano.
No matter where your loyalties are, you might find the following pizza facts unfamiliar to you:
Five billion annually
Today pizza is probably the most recognisable snack around the world with up to five billion of the delightful treats consumed around the world each year.
Origins of the modern pizza
While the evolution of the pizza as we know it might have taken centuries, the modern pizza traces its origin in Naples, Italy where poor peasants in the 18th century started using fresh tomatoes as topping on their flat focaccia bread.
Italians migrated with their pizza
Just as the 20th century was taking shape, Italian immigrants migrated to the United States and made Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago and New York (among other cities) their chief home. As they settled they started creating and selling pizza pies with pizzerias opening up in their local neighbourhoods. The first ever American pizzeria is believed to have opened in 1905 in New York by Genarro Lombardi and is still open today.
Pizza consumption in the US
In the United States about 350 pizza slices are consumed per second. The average American takes about 46 slices of pizza annually or 23 pounds of the snack. Surveys indicate that over 90 percent of the American population consumes pizza every month.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza is regulated
Since 1984, there has been an association known as the Associazione Verace Pizza Nepoletana that verifies the authenticity of the Neapolitan pizza. The association has rules in place to be followed by a pizzeria intending to sell genuine Neapolitan pizza. Among other things baking has to be done over wooden fire in a domed oven and hand made without even using a simple kitchen tool like a rolling pin. The diameter also has to be less than 35cm. Decision to add flakes of well crashed red pepper are left to the pizzeria.
There will also be expensive food but for a pizza one of the priciest is the $1,000 pizza sold in Manhattan’s Nino Bellissima Pizza parlour – it is topped with all manner of unique ingredients, from caviar worth $800 to lobster and white truffles. However, the award for the most expensive pizza ever made goes to Domenico Crolla. In 2013, the ‘007 Pizza Royale’ had such expensive toppings as caviar in champagne, smoked salmon, cognac marinated lobster, tomato sauce, venison medallions as well as edible gold. It was auctioned to raise money for a charity and was sold for a whopping $4,200