The Origin of Pizza and How Pizza and the Pizza Menu Differs Around the World

Ah yes, is there any food quite as universally beloved as pizza? Pizza is simple yet delicious, and it appears everyone has their own opinion on what type of pie is the very best. Some people prefer the classic cheese, pepperoni, or Margherita that focuses on just a few very well-executed ingredients. On the contrary, there are toppings like pineapple that launch full-scale debates about its validity as a topping. While pizza’s origins are undoubtedly Italian, today, you can find it all across the globe. In this article, we will be exploring different countries and how they cook this insanely popular dish.

The Origins of Modern-Day Pizza

Pizza near me

Before we take off around the globe, let’s begin by starting by mapping out where modern-day pizza originated. We’re talking about what looks similar or identical to the Salisbury pizza that we serve at Romano’s. While most people would rightfully guess Italy as the birthplace of pizza, it is interesting to note that certain versions and predecessors of pizza can actually be traced even further back. Pizza has relatives ala flatbreads that existed in certain versions ranging back to Greece, China, Egypt, Israel, and even ancient Babylon! It wasn’t until the introduction of tomatoes to Europe via South America (Peru) that pizza would take on a more modern shape. 

Another key ingredient to modern-day varieties would need to be introduced to Europe prior to the invention of pizza, tomatoes. We of course are talking about tomatoes that make up Interestingly enough, tomatoes were first thought to be poisonous. However, they did eventually find their way into the diets of poorer peoples including those in Naples, Italy. It was then, there in Naples, that this modern rendition, reminiscent of the pizza in Salisbury, that we make, was able to take flight. Pizza became very popular in the region amongst those with little money because they could typically create a crust using very cheap ingredients like flour, olive oil, and lard. Finally, cheese was relatively inexpensive as well, rounding out what they needed to make an affordable and portable food option.

In 1905 pizza would make its first real appearance in the United States after a New Yorker by the name of Gennuardo Lombardi opened the first American pizza shop on Spring Street in New York City in 1905. Despite pizza’s introduction to the United States during this time, it would still largely be seen as a foreign food up until the 1950s. Nowadays, pizza has become synonymous with New York City (even today, if you search for pizza near me in NYC there are still places in the city you can get a 99-cent slice!). As a result, pizza has taken on many forms in American cuisine. 

What caused pizza to catapult into popularity in America during the 1960s? Up until this time, it had been popular, but not on the same level as we know it today. The big pizza renaissance occurred when manufacturers realized it could be packaged and served frozen. This would make pizza a beloved fixture in homes across America. From there on out, it wasn’t unusual for Americans to experiment with pizza, using ingredients as toppings not usually found on pizzas in Italy. Suddenly, pizza had its own American identity, causing an Americanized version to become popular. Here at Romano’s pizza in Salisbury, we embrace both old-school versions of pizza more in line with what you’d find abroad, as well as Americanized versions like Philly Cheesesteak Pizza and Hawaiian Chicken Pizza. These are a few examples of American-style pizza.

Interesting Pizza Concepts Around the Globe

salisbury pizza

Now that you’ve been given a brief look into the world of pizza, here are some other examples of pies that have been created across the world that have shifted from traditional Italian fare. 

The United States: While we briefly touched on the origins of pizza near me in the U.S., we largely focused on its inception in New York. As pizza spread across the nation, some interesting varieties popped up, such as:

  • Chicago Deep Dish Pizza: If you find yourself typing in pizza near me in the city of Chicago, you are likely going to encounter many pizzerias that will advertise “deep dish”. While many pizza purists argue that deep dish is not actually pizza due to its anatomy, that hasn’t stopped it from taking root in the Windy City. This pizza is known for its deeper crunchier crust, several layers of toppings, and a top layer of sauce. 
  • Scachatta: Scachatta is a Cuban-Sicilian take on pizza that was crafted in the Floridian city of Tampa. While it shares many characteristics with the Sicilian style of pizza common in New York, it often features the influence of Cuban ingredients like corn or cassava flour in the crust. It is typically cut into squares. You’ll most likely only encounter this pie on a pizza menu in Tampa.

France: French pizza or tartare flambee originated in the Alsace region of France. Its traditional toppings are crème fraiche, caramelized onions, and lardons. This gives the pie somewhat of a tangy yet savory taste. Germany has its own version of the flambee; however, the main difference is raw bacon is used instead of lardons. 

Argentina: In many places around the globe, pizza is often rendered without sauce. For example, in Argentina, their style of pizza is called the fugazza and it takes a similar approach to Chicago deep-dish anatomically, with many layers, although it skips out on the sauce. Its main appeal is a heavy cheese presence, making it a gooey, doughy, delight. While you might not find this rendition as often on a pizza menu in the U.S., it’s still delicious in its own right.

Japan: Yep, even Asian countries have their own takes on pizza. In Japan, the dish that resembles pizza the most is okonomiyaki. At its most basic, okonomiyaki utilizes free-form toppings on a flat circular base. It’s built on a disc of shredded cabbage on circular dough that’s most similar to pancake batter.

Iceland: If you find pineapple pizza hard to wrap your head around, wait till you hear about this type of pie in Iceland, it might just make you go bananas. Yep, you read that right, BANANAS. The banana is a popular topping in Iceland, whether you opt for bananas and blue cheese, or their take on Hawaiian pizza, using bananas and pineapple.