When it comes to Italian cuisine, Pizza is a definite must and yet it remains one of the most intriguing dishes, at least to me. There are so many things that are said about pizza, so many myths and stories, and of course the Best Restaurants in London and others around the world have aggressive debates over who has the best pizza. However it may be, we all know that having this Italian dish is one of the best experiences in life, no matter which toppings you have it with, it will always be a delight. So, here are some fun facts for all of you Pizza lovers that you may find interesting
- The Italian birthplace of Pizza: In Rome there is a borough nearby Vatican City that is called Trastevere (which is translated as behind the Tiber); it’s a tough neighbourhood, and you don’t want to get caught walking there past midnight but what you would definitely want to do is have a pizza there. Some say that Trastevere is the birthplace of Pizza but then again, some say that the idea came from the Greeks, who used to top their bread with herbal spices, cheeses and other ingredients. What it is certain for many people, although there are many opinions about it, is that the modern shape of Pizza was invented in Napoli around the XVII century and it was only in 1889 when the cheese was added to the dough.
- The American birthplace(s): If you are ever walking in Harlem, New York, you will find a place in East 117th called “Patsy’s pizzeria”. If you go inside, you may have a feeling of Dejavu, as Francis Ford Copola used it for his famous film The Godfather, and if you have one of their amazing Pizzas you will immediately notice their thin crust. Well, it turns out that Patsy’s in New York, not only has the oldest Pizza oven in town but it actually holds the original recipe for New York style pizza, a fact that is often controversial, because Neapolitan pizza is as thin as the New York pizza. Another fun fact about this particular restaurant is that while it was being founded in New York a similar branch, with the same name, was founded in Chicago. Now this is something I overheard from two drunken men sharing a whiskey in a Pub, but the myth goes that while Patsy’s NY was inventing the New York Pizza style, Patsy’s Chicago was inventing the stuffed pizza known as deep-dish pizza a.k.a Chicago style pizza. Both Places held a long debate about the true origin of the American version of Pizza. As I said, this may be completely untrue given the source, but it is a story that I’ve always found interesting; for Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s official cultural historian, the birthplace of Chicago style Pizza is uncertain but most of the references point at Pizzeria Uno, who knows?
- Where does the word, Pizza, comes from: You may think that the word Pizza comes from Italy, well it does in a certain way but the original word comes from Germany, yes Germany! The word is a derivative of the old German word bizzopizzo (Bissen in modern German), which means nibble, and loaf of bread. It was only in the XII century when the word pizzo is transformed to pizza, which means small and soft round piece of bread, which is a typical meal amongst the peoples of Lombardi.
- The first Pizza place in history: This is of course a very difficult fact to trace, but some archaeologists have found evidence of wooden ovens, like the one in Pizzicotto Kensington, amongst the rubble of Pompey, which are as old as 79 A.D. Historians believe that these places used to have pizza before they were obliterated by the Vesuvius.
I hope you have enjoyed these fun facts about Pizza, perhaps the next time you are having your favourite Pizza at Pizzicotto, you will have a completely different perspective about it.