Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Did you know peperoni pizza is vegetarian?

Did you know peperoni pizza is vegetarian?
It’s not a trick question. But if you thought peperoni was a type of meat pizza topping, then while you’re forgiven, you’re also mistaken. Pepperoni (with two Ps) is a term totally unfamiliar to Italians. The slices of spicy red meat much of the world calls pepperoni, we refer to as salame or salsiccia piccante. 

In Italy, peperoni (with one P) refers to slices of capsicum or bell pepper. Whether it’s yellow or green doesn’t matter, but ask for a peperoni pizza and that’s the topping you’ll be getting with it. Of course, in many tourist areas, Italian restaurants are familiar with the misunderstanding and may be polite enough to clarify an order for peperoni pizza before it is placed, after all, no one likes being served the unexpected.

If you’re really after the American style pepperoni pizza, then we recommend asking for “pizza al salame piccante”, “pizza diavola” or “pizza calabrese”, but be warned, the spiced salame (note the spelling – not salami) the Italians use is a little hotter than you might be used to back home.