Mmmm …. Pizza! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past millennia, you should know what a pizza is. In case you’ve forgotten (how could you?), pizzas are those yummy oven-baked, flat delicacies usually topped with tomato sauce, cheese and various other toppings! Stereotypically eaten by men while watching a sporting match (usually football, baseball, basketball) on TV, or consumed by women after a particularly nasty break-up (best taken with tubs of ice cream).
But seriously, what is a pizza anyway? Merriam Webster defines pizza as “a food made from flat, usually round bread that is topped with usually tomato sauce and cheese and often with meat or vegetables”. It’s origin is traced back to Naples, Italy even though the term itself is Greek in origin (pitta).
Many varieties of pizza exist and some of the most popular ones are listed below:
There are three main types of Italian-style pizzas. The Neapolitan, the Lazio and the Sicilian.
The Neapolitan Style Pizza originated from Naples and can possibly be considered the father of all modern-day pizza. It is traditionally made with tomatoes (San Marzano) and Mozzarella cheese. It is interesting to note that in 2009, the Neapolitan Pizza was safeguarded as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed Dish in the European Union.
Lazio Style Pizza was developed in Lazio (Rome) and is characterized by its thin, crisp base which is different from the thicker and softer base of Neapolitan Pizza. Lazio pizza are usually cooked in a wood-fired oven and cut with a pair of scissors or sliced with a knife. These are not sold by piece but are sold by weight.
Sicilian-Style Pizza is often thick crusted and rectangular – although there are some variants that are round and quite similar to the Neapolitan Style. Sicilian style pizza is often topped with onions, anchovies, tomatoes, herbs and strong cheese (although some types do not include cheese).
Not to be outdone, the Americans have added their own flair and developed different kinds of pizza, three of which have gained popularity not just in the United States, but in other parts of the world as well.
The New York Style Pizza is characterized by it’s thin crust. It is usually hand-tossed and has normal amounts of sauce and cheese. Slices are large, wide and fairly soft which makes the slice easy to fold when eating.
Chicago Style Pizza is the opposite of New York Style. Where the crusts of New York Pizzas are thin, Chicago Style Pizza crusts can be at least 3 inches deep. The pizza is filled with various stuffings and topped with cheese and/or marinara. Deep-dish pizzas were supposed to have been first made in 1843.
Unlike New York and Chicago Style Pizzas, Detroit Style Pizzas are usually rectangular in shape because these are baked in industrial-type pans. What makes Detroit Style Pizzas different is the fact that these are twice-baked.
Exotic pizza are those that either (1) have ingredients that are not usually associated with Pizza or (2) cooked in a different manner. A few examples of exotic pizza include the Lahma Bi Ajeen, a Lebanese pizza made up of minced onion, ground lamb, cumin and yoghurt; Deep-Fried Pizza from Scotland which are often served with french fries; and Chocolate Pizza which has chocolate, marshmallows, candy, peanut butter as toppings instead of the usual tomato sauce, cheese and slivers of pepperoni and other meats.