Whether it's doughy, deep-dish Napoletana or a thin crust Romana, Italian people like topping it off with delicious sauce, fresh cheeses, tasty meats, organic veggies, flavourful fish to name of few. The pie is then cooked to perfection in a wood-burning oven, to make it the real thing - 100% Italian pizza.
The word pizza dates back about a thousand years to central and southern Italy. In more modern times, sauce and toppings were added to focaccia and pizza was born in Naples Italy. The addition of tomatoes to flatbread was the real innovation that made pizza stand out at a time when many Europeans believed that tomatoes and other similar fruits were poisonous. In the early 1800’s pizzerias numbered in the 50’s and later in the century there were 120. Pizza apparently had become a very popular flatbread from its early days.
In Italy, the yeasty base is considered significant as the foundation to the big personal pie that is typically served whole to each individual and topped with fresh, cool Italian tomatoes and generous slices of mozzarella and blankets of salty preserved meats – salami, prosciutto and an array of locally favoured toppings like eggplant, capers, pumpkin and the like. Still authentic, although different from the red-sauced pies we know so well, pizza in Italy may be of the white variety – no tomato sauce – olive oil on a thin crust with toppings such as basil.
As all food in Italy, authentic pizza is regional – a different favourite texture and taste for each region in the country. So, where is the best, authentic Italian pizza for those adventurous foodies who will go the distance to satisfy their need for that crusty, tart tomato-based flatbread worthy of our culinary love?
You guessed it. Still today, Naples is considered the place to eat pizza in Italy. Perhaps the simplest, and most well-known Italian pizza is the Margherita –a doughy crust with a thicker end, red with tomato sauce, green with basil and white with mozzarella cheese. Romans like their crusts crisp, thin and narrow. Unlike in Naples, the Roman crust contains olive oil and sugar – a unique distinction. The Roman dough is very moist and fermented in three stages. Here you might find capers and anchovies added as toppings. And, in Venice, you may be able to get any kind of pizza here but in Venice, you’ll surely find a simple variety – topped with garlic, tomato, and oregano.
Toppings are unique and authentic to the mother-country of pizza. Burrata is an extra creamy twist on mozzarella cheese, is a treat on an authentically Italian pizza. Buffalo mozzarella with truffle. Buffalo mozzarella is a staple – sliced, not shredded but truffle simply elevates the usual. Eggplant, finally a vegetable beyond the tomato. It will melt in your mouth and offer a soft addition as well. Pumpkin is not just a vegetable added. It brings sweetness and a juicy addition too. Tuscan sausage, blue cheese, pear, walnuts, honey are known to be served atop a pizza in sweet, creamy and crunchy combination.
Wherever you travel in Italy, you will find an authentic Italian pizza as it is a local staple – with variations to suit every palette, a tour of Italy is tour crusts and sauces and cheeses and sweet vegetables and little fishes, nuts and oils to suit every fancy.