Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Pizza – the simple dish with global appeal

Pizza – the simple dish with global appeal
Pizza is one of Italy’s most famous dishes and can be found all over the world. Whether sold by the slice by New York street vendors, or as a giant slab on a rustic chopping board in trendy London restaurants, the humble pizza has come a long way.
Perhaps the secret of its success is its versatility, offering a seemingly endless variety of options to suit all tastes. Whether it’s a crispy thin pizza, or a hearty deep-pan, the core ingredients are usually the same – flour, salt, water, herbs, tomatoes, olive oil and cheese (usually mozzarella). But it’s the toppings that are the real heroes. 

Restricted only by the imagination of the chef, there's an extraordinary range of pizza toppings around the world. They can range from the traditional Italian ones (salami, prawns, capsicum, ham or mushrooms) right through to the internationally exotic (kale, truffles, Nutella and banana or even crocodile, emu or smoked reindeer). Of course, the Italians would be horrified at some of the more 'out-there' toppings used overseas, preferring to keep things authentic.

It’s thought the very first pizza was made for the Queen of the two kingdoms of Sicily in the early 19thCentury and its popularity spread across Europe as word of the dish was passed through the palaces. One of the most famous pizzas is the Margherita. It was first created in 1889 by an ingenious pizza-maker looking to impress the visiting Queen of Italy - Princess Margherita of Savoy. He created a simple pizza using just three toppings – red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil, together representing the Italian flag. His creation was an instant hit and is still known as the Margherita to this day.