Have you ever wondered how the wonderful pizza first came into existence? Was it an accident or something born of deliberation? Well, we will provide the answer to these questions today.
As you might have guessed, the ancestor of the pizza was a form of bread. Even the modern pizza crust can be thought of as a flatbread. There are a lot of common steps involved in their preparation. Both even use yeast as well. Let us delve deeper into the exact origins of the pizza.
It is more ancient than most of us think. It is not a new invention. The word pizza was first coined way back in AD 997 in a central Italian city called Gaeta. This name eventually spread to the rest of Italy and then Europe. This, however, is not the exact origin of pizza. Many ancient cultures prepared flatbread with toppings on them. Just that they did not call it pizza.
The Romans were perhaps the biggest reason behind the popularity of the precursor to the pizza. They called it the “Panis Focacius”. The amazing thing is that this is not even the first time in history people made flatbread with toppings. Archeologists have discovered pizza like bread all the way back from BC 5000. It is safe to say that the pizza is as old as civilization itself and is a great showcase of the adage that old is indeed gold.
The popularity of pizza would come later, however, when an important innovation took place and that was the use of tomatoes in the topping. It was in the 16th century that tomatoes were brought to Europe from America and that heralded the boom in pizza consumption.
Tomatoes as part of toppings on a pizza gave it a zingy flavor that captured the taste buds of the masses and by the 18th century, pizza became one of the most sought-after delicacies in Europe. The true forms of pizza ‘The Marinara and The Margherita’ became standards in the culinary industry. Pizzas were still being sold in open air pizzerias and were usually wrapped in paper and sold with a beverage from small stalls. Modern pizzerias continue this tradition today.
By the 19th century, various places started developing their own trademark sort of pizza. Naples preferred pizzas that were thick and soft while Rome liked its pizzas thin and crispy and this tradition is present even today. The next big step was the commercialization and in many ways standardization of the pizza. Chains such as Dominos and Pizza Hut took pizza to other parts of the world such as Asia.
This also led to great new variants of pizza that reflect the local cuisines of the different cities around the world. It sure has been a long journey for the pizza to get where it is today but we are glad this journey took place.