Pizza (, Italian pronunciation: ) is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings. The modern pizza was originally invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish has since become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria". Many varieties of pizza exist worldwide, along with several dish variants based upon pizza. Pizza is cooked in various types of ovens, and a diverse variety of ingredients and toppings are utilized. In 2009, upon Italy's request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish. October is traditionally national Pizza month. Pizza has been described as having both potential health benefits and detriments. Pizza is also available in frozen prepared varieties. Documentation and records exist for the world's largest pizza and the most expensive pizza.
The word pizza (Italian pronunciation: , from the Latin verb pìnsere, to press and from the Greek pēktos, πηκτός, meaning "solid" or "clotted") is Greek in origin (see also pitta). The ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled πίτα, pita, or πίττα, pitta, meaning pie. The word has also spread to Romanian as pită, Turkish as pide, and Bulgarian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian and Serbian as pita, Albanian as pite and Modern Hebrew pittāh. The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves.
Modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan flatbread.
A popular urban legend holds that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pie swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita, though recent research casts doubt on this legend.
In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). When made at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.
The bottom of the pizza, called the "crust", may vary widely according to style—thin as in a typical hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, or thick as in a typical pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with garlic or herbs, or stuffed with cheese. The outer edge of the pizza is sometimes referred to as the cornicione.
The most popular cheeses to use on pizza are mozzarella, provolone, cheddar and parmesan. Romano and Ricotta are often used as toppings and processed cheese manufactured specifically for pizza is used in mass-produced environments. Processed pizza cheese is manufactured to produce preferable qualities like browning, melting, stretchiness and fat and moisture content. Many studies and experiments have analyzed the impact of vegetable oil, manufacturing and culture processes, denatured whey proteins and other changes to creating the ideal and economical pizza cheese. In 1997 it was estimated that annual production of pizza cheese was 2 billion pounds in the US and 200 million pounds in Europe.
Myriad toppings are used on pizzas, including, but not limited to:
Neapolitan pizza (pizza napoletana): Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are typically made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. They can be made with ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state (this mozzarella is protected with its own European protected designation of origin).
According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (00 or 0type , or a mixture of both), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer's yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The pizza napoletana is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (Specialità Tradizionale Garantita, STG) product in Europe.
Lazio style: Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy, is available in two different styles. Take-away shops sell pizza rustica or pizza al taglio. This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1–2 cm). The pizza is often cooked in an electric oven. It is usually cut with scissors or a knife and sold by weight. In pizzerias, pizza is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It has a thin, crisp base quite different from the thicker and softer Neapolitan style base. It is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving the pizza its unique flavor and texture. In Rome, a pizza napoletana is topped with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and oil (thus, what in Naples is called pizza romana, in Rome is called pizza napoletana).
Other types of Lazio-style pizza include:
In Sicily, there is a variety of pizza called Sfincione.
Mexican pizza is a pizza made with ingredients typical of Mexican cuisine. The Mexican pizza is not Mexican in origin, but is actually regionally modified cuisine of Italian pizza. This type of pizza is called "Mexicana" by adding Mexican toppings. The usual toppings that can be found throughout Mexico are chorizo, jalapeño pepper slices, grilled or fried onions, tomato, chile, hominy, shrimp, avocado, and sometimes beef, bell peppers, tripas or scallop. This pizza has the usual marinara sauce or white sauce and/or mozzarella cheese. Variations, substituting pepper jack cheese or Oaxaca cheese for mozzarella, is also popular. A Mexican pizza is offered by Taco Bell fast food restaurant in most locations in North America.
In Italy, there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas which followed these guidelines could be called "traditional Italian pizzas" in Italy.
On 9 December 2009, the European Union, upon Italian request, granted Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) safeguard to traditional Neapolitan pizza, in particular to "Margherita" and "Marinara". The European Union enacted a protected designation of origin system in the 1990s.
During the latter half of the 20th century, pizza become a globally accessible dish, mainly due to Italian immigrants that had brought their dishes to new people with resounding success, often in racially and culturally resistive environments.
A survey from 2004 showed that the Norwegians eat most pizza 5,4 kg/year, followed by Germany 2,1 kg/year on average.
The usual Italian varieties are available, though more common is the style popular in the US, with more and richer topping than Italian style. A common unique type is the Aussie, Australian or Australiana which has the usual tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese with bacon and egg (seen as quintessentially Australian breakfast fare). Pizzas with seafood such as prawns are also popular. In the 1980s some Australian pizza shops and restaurants began selling "gourmet pizzas", that is, pizzas with more expensive ingredients such as salmon, dill, bocconcini, tiger prawns, or unconventional toppings such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile. "Wood-fired pizzas", that is, those cooked in a ceramic oven heated by wood fuel, are well-regarded.
São Paulo has 6,000 pizza establishments and 1.4 million pizzas are consumed daily. It is said that the first Brazilian pizzas were baked in the Brás district of São Paulo in the early part of the 20th century. Until the 1950s, they were only found in the Italian communities. Since then, pizza became increasingly popular among the rest of the population. The most traditional pizzerias are still found in the Italian neighborhoods, such as Bexiga (official name: Bela Vista). Both Neapolitan (thick crust) and Roman (thin crust) varieties are common in Brazil, with traditional versions using tomato sauce and mozzarella as a base. Brazilian pizza in general, though, tends to have less tomato sauce than the Italian version, or uses slices of tomato in place of sauce. Brazilian pizzerias offer also Brazilian variants such as "pizza com catupiry". July 10 is "Pizza Day" in São Paulo, marking the final day of an annual competition among "pizzaiolos". In Brazil, pizza quatro queijos (pizza quattro formaggi) uses mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and gorgonzola, and there is also a variety with five cheeses, which adds catupiry.
Pizza is an emerging fast food in Indian urban areas. With the arrival of branded pizza such as Domino's and Pizza Hut in early to mid-1990s, it has reached almost all major cities in India by 2010.][ There are some domestic pizza brands such as Smokin' Joes and Pop-Tates.
Pizza outlets serve pizzas with several Indian-style toppings like Tandoori Chicken and Paneer. Along with Indian variations, more conventional pizzas are also eaten. Pizzas available in India range from localized basic variants available in neighborhood bakeries to gourmet pizzas with exotic and imported ingredients available at specialty Italian restaurants.
Many Israeli and American pizza stores and chains, including Pizza Hut and Sbarro, have both kosher and non-kosher locations. Kosher locations either have no meat or use imitation meat because of the Jewish religious dietary prohibition against mixing meat and dairy products, such as cheese. Kosher pizza locations must also close during the holiday of Passover, when no bread products other than matza are allowed in kosher locations. Some Israeli pizza differs from pizza in other countries because of the very large portions of vegetable toppings such as mushrooms or onions, and some unusual toppings, like corn or labane, and middle-Eastern spices, such as za'atar. Like most foods in Israel, pizza choices reflect multiple cultures.
American pizza chains entered Japan in the 1970s (e.g. Shakey's Pizza and Pizza Hut 1973, Domino’s pizza in 1985). The largest Japanese pizza chain is Pizza-La. The most popular pizza chain promoting Italian style artisanal pizza is Salvatore Cuomo. The Italian association Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana has an independent branch in Japan. Local types of pizza have been made, for instance mochi pizza (crust made with Japanese mochi cakes).
Pizza restaurants in Malaysia include Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Jom Pizza, and Sure Pizza.][
Pizza is becoming more popular as a fast food in the urban areas of Nepal, particularly in the capital city, Kathmandu. There are a number of restaurants that serve pizzas in Kathmandu. With the opening of a number of international pizza brands, the popularity as well as consumption has markedly increased in recent times.
The Norwegians eat most pizza in the world according to a survey by ACNielsen 2004, 5,4 kg/year per capita. 50 million frozen pizzas were sold. The consumption 2004 was 22 000 tons of frozen pizza, 15 000 tons of home baked and 13 000 tons restaurant made pizzas.
The first pizzerias opened up in Karachi and Islamabad in the late 1980s, with Pappasallis serving pizza in Islamabad since 1990. Pizza has gained a measure of popularity in the eastern regions of Pakistan—namely, the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, and Azad Kashmir, as well as the autonomous territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. Pizza has not penetrated into western Pakistan; of the remaining provinces and territories of Pakistan, only one (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) has seen much of the dish, in the form of a single Pizza Hut in Peshawar. In the regions where pizza is known, spicy chicken and sausage-based pizzas are very popular, as they cater to the local palate.
Pizza is a popular snack food in South Korea, especially among younger people. Major American brands such as Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's Pizza compete against domestic brands such as Mr. Pizza and Pizza Etang, offering traditional as well as local varieties which may include toppings such as bulgogi and dak galbi. Korean-style pizza tends to be complicated, and often has nontraditional toppings such as corn, potato wedges, sweet potato, shrimp, or crab. The super-deluxe "Grand Prix" at Mr. Pizza has Cajun shrimp, bell peppers, olives, and mushrooms on one side, and potato wedges, bacon, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream on the other side. Its potato mousse-filled cookie dough crust is sprinkled with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins, and can be dipped in a blueberry sauce that is provided.
Traditional Italian-style thin-crust pizza is served in the many Italian restaurants in Seoul and other major cities. North Korea's first pizzeria opened in its capital Pyongyang in 2009.
Pizza arrived in Sweden with Italian guest workers and became popular around 1970. Swedish pizza is mainly of the Neapolitan type and most pizzerias in Sweden have pizzas Margherita, Capricciosa and Quattro Stagioni at the top of the menu, although with altered recipes. For example, a Swedish Margherita uses Swedish hard cheese instead of mozzarella and dried oregano instead of fresh basil. The Swedish pizza has been developed with lots of inventions and styles, creating a tradition distinct from the Italian one, although some names may coincide. Occasionally pizzerias offer "Italian pizza" imitating Italian recipes in addition to the Swedish ones.
A typical Swedish pizzeria offers 40-50 different named varieties in the menu, even up to 100, and personal modifications are offered. Besides, many pizzerias also serve salads, lasagne, kebab and hamburgers, especially if there is a facility to sit and eat. Italian style restaurants often combine a restaurant menu with a pizza menu.
Some popular varieties common in most of Sweden, mostly with the same name, all having tomato sauce and cheese to start with and additional toppings:
One of the most popular types of pizza in Sweden since the 1990s is kebab-pizza, and a song in the Swedish Eurovision song contest 2008 was "Kebabpizza slivovitza". The invention ought to be a result of the common tendency of pizza bakers to create their own flagship compositions and novel flavours, using whatever might be available in their kitchen. Since the last years one can find pizza with fresh lettuce or chips (French fries) put on top after baking. The amount of topping compared to the crust is rather high in international comparison.
The typical side order with Swedish pizza is a free "pizza salad", made with shredded cabbage, coarse pepper and sometimes red paprika, slightly pickled (fermented) in vinaigrette for a few days. In general, Swedish pizzerias are private enterprises and not franchise, often owned as a family business by immigrants, but very seldom Italians. Of international restaurant chains only Pizza Hut is well established, although Vapiano has a few restaurants in Stockholm and Domino's have been trying to establish in southern Sweden since 2008. Many pizzerias offer affordable (about 1-2 € total, or free with large order) home delivery in less than 30 minutes and many are connected to an on-line ordering service. The take-away price of one standard size (30 cm) pizza is 5 to 8 € depending on topping, about the double for a "family pizza" of double size (weight), and about the half for a "children's pizza" (mostly served in restaurants). Pizza has become a staple food in Sweden (1,1 kg/year), although most people prepare their own food, as home cooking skills generally are good, and is largely considered as an acceptable occasional fast food alternative to a proper meal. See also sv:pizza.
In 1905, the first pizza establishment in the United States was opened in New York's Little Italy. Due to the wide influence of Italian immigrants in American culture, the US has developed regional forms of pizza, some bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. Chicago has its own style of a deep-dish pizza. Detroit also has its unique twice-baked style, with cheese all the way to the edge of the crust, and New York City has its own distinct variety of pizza. New Haven-style pizza is a thin crust variety that does not include cheese unless the customer asks for it as an additional topping.
Slices of New York-style pizza
A supreme-style pizza
Pizza is available frozen, as round traditional pizzas or in portion size 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. Modified corn starch is commonly used as a moisture barrier between the sauce and crust. Traditionally the dough is partially baked and other ingredients are also sometimes precooked. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts. A form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens or microwave ovens. Another approach is using a fresh dough, sold with sauce and basic ingredients, to complete before baking in oven.
Some mass-produced pizzas by food chains have been criticized as having an unhealthy balance of ingredients. Pizza can be high in salt, fat and calories. There are concerns about negative health effects. Food chains, such as Pizza Hut, have come under criticism][ for the high salt content of some of their meals, which were found to contain more than twice the daily recommended amount of salt for an adult.
Some studies have linked consumption of the antioxidant lycopene, which exists in tomato products that are often used on pizza, as having a beneficial health effect. European nutrition research on the eating habits of people with cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, throat or colon showed those who ate pizza at least once a week had less chance of developing cancer. Dr Silvano Gallus, of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Milan, attributed it to lycopene, an antioxidant chemical in tomatoes, which is thought to offer some protection against cancer. Carlo La Vecchia, a Milan-based epidemiologist said, "Pizza could simply be indicative of a lifestyle and food habits, in other words the Italian version of a Mediterranean diet." A traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, fiber, vegetables, fruit, flour, and freshly cooked food. In contrast to the traditional Italian pizza used in the research, popular pizza varieties in many parts of the world are often loaded with high fat cheeses and fatty meats, a high intake of which can contribute to obesity, itself a risk factor for cancer.