The History Of Pizza, Italy's Favourite Dish

It's no surprise that pizza is one of the most beloved dishes in the world, flavoured, soothing and infinitely tasteful. It's a cuisine that's gone beyond its Italian roots in order to find new items, from mango pizzas to Chicago-style deep dish pastries.

No wonder it has whole days devoted to it around the globe -- from January's World Pizza Day to National Pizza Day, which takes place in the United States every February 9.

People have been eating pizza, in one form or another, for centuries. As far back as antiquity, pieces of flatbread, topped with savouries, served as a simple and tasty meal for those who could not afford plates, or who were on the go.

Even we in Malaysia have several Pizza outlets and of course with a twist of flavour to suits our taste-bud. I recalled there's one time, Pizza Hut came out with a 'Nasi Lemak' Pizza!

The History Of Pizza

Founded around 600 B.C. , Naples was a flourishing seafront town as a Greek colony in the 1700s and early 1800s. Technically an individual kingdom, it was known for its numbers of poor or lazzaroni workers.

These Neapolitans or lazzaroni required inexpensive food that could be consumed quickly. Pizza—flatbreads with various toppings, eaten for any meal and sold by street vendors or informal restaurants—met this need.

At that time, the pizza that they consume considered as disgusting (according to judgemental Italian authors during that time); although these early pizzas consumed by Naples’ poor featured the tasty garnishes beloved today, such as tomatoes, cheese, oil, anchovies and garlic.

In the late 19th century when the first cookbooks came out, they totally ignored pizza! Even those who devoted themselves to Neapolitan cuisine had disdained it. 

The Born Of Pizza MARGarita

The king and queen of the recently reunited Italy came to visit Naples in 1889 and Queen Margarita was keen to try the local speciality.

The best pizzaiolo (pizza maker) in Naples, Raffaele Esposito prepared three types of pizza, white with pork fat, caciocavallo cheese and basil; olive oil and anchovies; and tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.