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Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.
Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria". Pizza is one of the national foods of Italy and the Italian people.
Main article: History of pizza
A pizza just removed from the oven.
The Ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. The word has now spread to Turkish as pide, Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian as pita, Albanian as pite and Modern Hebrew . The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of flour topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves. Modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato. In 1889, cheese was added.
King Ferdinand I (1751-1825) is said to have disguised himself as a commoner and, in clandestine fashion, visited a poor neighborhood in Naples. One story has it that he wanted to sink his teeth into a food that the queen had banned from the royal court-pizza.
In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita.
Pizza al taglio in Rome
500 pizzas are proposed in a trattoria in southern Italy
Neapolitan pizza (pizza napoletana): Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are typically made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. They can be made with ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state (this mozzarella is protected with its own European protected designation of origin). According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour , natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer's yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 mm thick. The pizza must be baked for 60-90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil (although most Neapolitan pizzerias also add basil to the marinara), pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
The pizza napoletana is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (Specialità Tradizionale Garantita, STG) product in Europe.
A homemade version of a pizza cooked on a pizza pan.
Lazio style: Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy, is available in two different styles: (1) Take-away shops sell pizza rustica or pizza al taglio. This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1-2 cm). The crust is similar to that of an English muffin, and the pizza is often cooked in an electric oven. It is usually cut with scissors or a knife and sold by weight. (2) In pizza restaurants (pizzerias), pizza is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It has a thin, crisp base quite different from the thicker and softer Neapolitan style base. It is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving the pizza its unique flavor and texture. In Rome, a pizza napoletana is topped with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and oil (thus, what in Naples is called pizza romana, in Rome is called pizza napoletana).
Types of Lazio-style pizza include:
Pizza romana (in Naples): tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil;
Pizza viennese: tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil;
Pizza capricciosa ("capricious pizza"): mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, oil (in Rome, prosciutto raw ham is used and half a hard-boiled egg is added);
Pizza quattro stagioni ("four seasons pizza"): same ingredients for the capricciosa, but ingredients not mixed;
Pizza quattro formaggi ("four cheese pizza"): tomatoes, mozzarella, stracchino, fontina, gorgonzola (sometimes ricotta can be swapped for one of the last three);
Sicilian-style pizza has its toppings baked directly into the crust. ("Sicilian" pizza in the United States is typically a different variety of product, made with a thick crust characterized by a rectangular shape and topped with tomato sauce, cheese and optional toppings. Pizza Hut's "Sicilian Pizza", introduced in 1994, is not an authentic example of the style as only garlic, basil, and oregano are mixed into the crust);
White pizza (pizza bianca) omits the tomato sauce, often substituting pesto or dairy products such as sour cream. Most commonly, especially on the East coast of the United States, the toppings consist only of mozzarella and ricotta cheese drizzled with olive oil and spices like fresh basil and garlic. In Rome, the term pizza bianca refers to a type of bread topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally, rosemary sprigs. It is also a Roman style to bottom the white pizza with figs, the result being known as pizza e fichi (pizza with figs);
Ripieno or calzone is a turnover-style pizza filled with several ingredients, such as ricotta, salami and mozzarella, and folded over to form a half circle before being baked. In Italian calzone literally means "large sock", while the word ripieno actually means just "filling" and does not by itself imply a form of pizza.
Pizza Leggera or Pizza Mezzogiorno - very thin base half a centimeter at the most, size of a large pancake with only one topping ingredient such as herbs or cheese, suitable for lunch time.
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In the 20th century, pizza has become a globally accessible dish mainly due to Italian immigrants that have brought their dishes to new people with resounding success and many times in racially and culturally resistive environments.
The usual Italian varieties are available, though more common is the style popular in America, with more and richer topping than Italian style. A common unique type is the Aussie, Australian or Australiana which has the usual tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese with bacon and egg (seen as quintessentially Australian breakfast fare). Pizzas with seafood such as prawns are also popular. In the 1980s some Australian pizza shops and restaurants began selling "gourmet pizzas", that is, pizzas with more expensive ingredients such as salmon, dill, bocconcini, tiger prawns, or unconventional toppings such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile. "Wood-fired pizzas", that is, those cooked in a ceramic oven heated by wood fuel, are well-regarded.
São Paulo has 6,000 pizza establishments and 1.4 million pizzas are consumed daily. It is said that the first Brazilian pizzas were baked in the Brás district of São Paulo in the early part of the 20th century. Until the 1950s, they were only found in the Italian communities. Since then, pizza became increasingly popular among the rest of the population. The most traditional pizzerias are still found in the Italian neighborhoods, such as Bexiga (official name: Bela Vista). Both Neapolitan (thick crust) and Roman (thin crust) varieties are common in Brazil, with both traditional versions with tomato sauce and mozzarella as a base, as well as sweet, using banana, chocolate or pineapple toppings being offered at the end of meal like a dessert. Brazilian pizzerias offer also "brazilian" version like "pizza com catupiri" (cheese). July 10 is "Pizza Day" in São Paulo, marking the final day of an annual competition among "pizzaiolos". In Brazil, pizza quatro queijos (pizza quattro formaggi) uses mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and gorgonzola, and there is also a variety with five cheeses, which adds catupiry.
A Pizza restaurant at Kulim, Kedah, Malaysia.
Many of western Pizza restaurants have been localized, such as invention of Tom Yom Pizza, Hot and Spicy and so on. The major pizza restaurants in Malaysia are Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Jom Pizza, and Sure Pizza.
Pizza is an emerging fast food in Indian urban areas. With the arrival of branded pizza such as Domino's and Pizza Hut in early to mid-1990s, it has reached almost all major cities in India by 2010. There are some domestic pizza brands such as Smokin' Joes and Pop-Tates.
Pizza outlets serve pizzas with several Indian-style toppings like Tandoori Chicken and Paneer. Along with Indian variations, more conventional pizzas are also eaten. Pizzas available in India range from localized basic variants available in neighborhood bakeries to gourmet pizzas with exotic and imported ingredients available at specialty Italian restaurants.
Pizza with corn and za'atar in Kfar Saba, Israel.
Many Israeli and American pizza stores and chains, including Pizza Hut and Sbarro, have both kosher and non-kosher locations. Kosher locations either have no meat or use imitation meat because of the Jewish religious dietary prohibition against mixing meat and dairy products, such as cheese. Kosher pizza locations must also close during the holiday of Passover, when no bread products other than matza are allowed in kosher locations. Some Israeli pizza differs from pizza in other countries because of the very large portions of vegetable toppings such as mushrooms or onions, and some unusual toppings, like corn or labane (strained yogurt), and middle-Eastern spices, such as za'atar. Like most foods in Israel, pizza choices reflect multiple cultures.
Pizza is a popular snack food in South Korea, especially among younger people. Major American brands such as Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's Pizza compete against domestic brands such as Mr. Pizza and Pizza Etang, offering traditional as well as local varieties which may include toppings such as bulgogi and dak galbi. Korean-style pizza tends to be complicated, and often has nontraditional toppings such as corn, potato wedges, sweet potato, shrimp, or crab. The super-deluxe "Grand Prix" at Mr. Pizza has Cajun shrimp, bell peppers, olives, and mushrooms on one side, and potato wedges, bacon, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream on the other side. Its potato mousse-filled cookie dough crust is sprinkled with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins, and can be dipped in a blueberry sauce that is provided.
Traditional Italian-style thin-crust pizza is served in the many Italian restaurants in Seoul and other major cities. North Korea's first pizzeria opened in its capital Pyongyang in 2009.
Pizza is becoming more popular as a fast food in the urban areas of Nepal, particularly in the capital city, Kathmandu. There are a number of restaurants that serve pizzas in Kathmandu. With the opening of a number of international pizza brands, the popularity as well as consumption has markedly increased in recent times.
The first pizzerias opened up in Karachi and Islamabad in the late 1980s, with Pappasallis serving pizza in Islamabad since 1990. Pizza has gained a measure of popularity in the eastern regions of Pakistan-namely, the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, and Azad Kashmir, as well as the autonomous territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. Pizza has not penetrated into western Pakistan; of the remaining provinces and territories of Pakistan, only one (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) has seen much of the dish, in the form of a single Pizza Hut in Peshawar. In the regions where pizza is known, spicy chicken and sausage-based pizzas are very popular, as they cater to the local palate.
In the United States
Main article: Pizza in the United States
Due to the wide influence of Italian and Greek immigrants in American culture, the US has developed regional forms of pizza, some bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. Chicago has its own style of a deep-dish pizza, Detroit also has it's unique twice-baked style, with cheese all the way to the crust, wheras New York City has developed its own distinct variety of thin crust pizza.
Cooked from frozen pizza topped with cheese and tomato sauce
Frozen and ready-to-bake pizzas
Pizza is available frozen. Food technologists have developed ways to overcome challenges such as preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. Modified corn starch is commonly used as a moisture barrier between the sauce and crust. Traditionally the dough is partially baked and other ingredients are also sometimes precooked. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts. A form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens and microwaves.
Pizza arrived in Sweden with Italian guest workers and became popular around 1970. Swedish pizza is mainly of the Neapolitan type and most pizzerias in Sweden have pizzas Margherita, Capricciosa and Quattro Stagioni at the top of the menu, although with slightly altered recipes. For example, a Swedish Margherita uses Swedish hard cheese instead of mozzarella and dried oregano instead of fresh basil and a Swedish Capricciosa uses only tomato, cheese, mushrooms and ham.
One of the most popular types of pizza in Sweden is kebab-pizza, with doner kebab as the main topping. The typical side order with Swedish pizza is a pizza salad made with shredded cabbage and sometimes red pepper that's been slightly pickled in vinaigrette for a few days.
In general, swedish pizzerias are private enterprises and not franchise. Of international restaurant chains only Pizza Hut is well established, although Vapiano has three restaurants in Stockholm and Domino's have been trying to establish in southern Sweden since 2008.