Wait, what? Pizza wasn’t created together with the birth of the universe during the Big Bang?
Consider our minds blown.
The history of pizza begins in the mysts of antiquity. The word ‘pizza’ was first documented in 997AD in Gaeta (now part of central Italy) and was successively mentioned in other parts of central and southern Italy. But it certainly didn’t resemble what we know and love today.
Focaccia was most likely the precursor to pizza. Known to the Romans of the time as panis focacius, this delicious flatbread was topped with a variety of different ingredients.
However, a legendary story exists suggesting that Marco Polo inadvertently brought back pizza to Europe from China when he was trying to recreate a 葱油饼 ‘cong you bing,’ a savoury scallion pancake that’s still common today across the country. In fact, maybe you ate one of these bad boys for breakfast this morning.
Considering though that the word pizza had already been documented in Europe for a few hundred years before Marco’s birth, that story’s probably not true.
Pizza, as we know and love it today, came about thanks to the tomato. First brought back to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, it was commonly believed to be poisonous, and many Europeans avoided it! It wasn’t until the late 18th century that the poor people in Naples began to add tomato to their yeast-based flatbread.
Two tasty pizzas quickly emerged, and purists today still call them the only two real pizzas.
tomato, oregano, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil
tomato, basil, and mozzarella
Pizza slowly started to spread across the world, accompanying Italian immigrants to new lands, but the real international breakthrough came after World War II. Allied forces stationed in Italy loved pizza and would start to search it out in their homelands after hostilities ended.
Pictured: Historically accurate representation of the sentiment for pizza at the time.
Entrepeneurs started to study recipes and import ovens while the first pizza chains like Pizza Hut (1958) would soon follow.
Chefs experimented with different recipes and toppings for pizza which is how a Greek immigrant to Canada invented the Hawaiian Pizza with pineapple and ham in 1962…
…and increasingly crazy items would follow as the humble pizza was further tweaked and adapted to local tastes as the world underwent increasing globalization.
We’ll pass on Papa John’s Japanese shrimp, tuna, and wasabi-mayo pizza, anything with durian on it, and whatever the heck the following picture is, thank you very much.
We want exactly none of this.
The story of pizza’s rise and spread across the world is exactly why you guys now have the opportunity to devour deals on a ton of different styles of awesome pizza right here in China.
Come taste the history today with Sherpa’s and one of your favourite pizza joints!
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