Discover 6 Amazing Pizza Facts You Won't Believe

Interesting facts about pizza

Forget everything you thought you knew about pizza. Its story isn’t just about melted cheese and perfect crusts – it’s a wild journey that spans centuries and continents! We’re not just the best pizza makers in Laos; we’re time-travelling taste explorers, ready to take you on an adventure through pizza’s past.

 

From its humble beginnings as a simple flatbread for the poor to becoming a dish fit for royalty, pizza has a history peppered with surprising twists and turns. Get ready to discover ancient pizza cousins, bizarre pizza toppings from the past, and maybe even a queen or two obsessed with this cheesy delight. Buckle up, because pizza’s history is about to get a whole lot more flavorful!

 

There are more than 6 facts

 

Pizza Was Originally a Food for the Poor

 

In Naples, Italy, where the modern pizza we know and love originated, it was initially considered a food for the poor classes. During the 1600s,  flatbreads topped with simple ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, oil, and cheese were sold by street vendors and bakeries as an affordable and convenient meal for the working class.

 

Queen Margherita Helped Popularise Pizza

 

In 1889, Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples. To honour her, a pizzaiolo (pizza maker) named Raffaele Esposito created a pizza mirroring the colours of the Italian flag: red (tomato sauce), white (mozzarella cheese), and green (basil leaves).  Queen Margherita loved it, and this specific type of pizza was named “Pizza Margherita” in her honour. This royal endorsement helped propel pizza from street food to a dish enjoyed by all social classes.

Pizza as a Morale Booster

During wars and conflicts, pizza has often been used as a comfort food for soldiers. In the Afghanistan War, for example, Pizza Huts were set up on U.S. military bases to provide soldiers with a taste of home.

The Pizza Connection Trial 

In the 1980s, a major Mafia trial in the United States was dubbed the “Pizza Connection Trial.” This trial uncovered a large-scale drug trafficking operation that used pizzerias as fronts for money laundering and heroin distribution.

Food Fights

While not full-fledged wars, there have definitely been playful rivalries and “wars” between pizzerias, especially in places with a dense concentration of pizza shops. Think New York vs. Chicago style debates!

Ancient Pizza Cousins

Long before tomatoes arrived in Europe from the Americas, flatbreads topped with various ingredients were popular throughout the Mediterranean. Ancient Egyptians ate a flatbread with herbs and oils, and the Greeks had a version called “plakous” topped with garlic, onions, and cheese.

The Tomato Transformation

When tomatoes were finally introduced to Italy in the 1500s, they were initially considered poisonous by many Europeans. However, resourceful peasants in Naples started adding them to their yeast-based flatbreads, giving birth to the early ancestors of modern pizza.

Pizza Goes Global (Slowly)

While pizza was popular in Italy, it didn’t become the worldwide phenomenon it is today until after World War II.  American soldiers stationed in Italy brought their newfound love of pizza home, fueling the rise of pizzerias across the United States.

Frozen Pizza Revolution

In the 1950s, the invention of frozen pizza made this dish even more accessible, transforming it into a convenient and beloved staple for busy families.

Before the Freeze: Before the 1950s, pizza was largely a regional food confined to Italian communities in the United States or local pizzerias. While it was gaining popularity, it remained inaccessible to many people outside of those areas.

The Birth of Frozen Pizza: There’s some debate on who truly invented the first commercial frozen pizza, but names like the Celentano brothers and Rose Totino stand out. They realized freezing pizzas could solve problems of preservation and make pizza a convenience food that could be stored and easily prepared at home.

Early Challenges: The first frozen pizzas weren’t quite the beloved treat we enjoy today. Problems like soggy crusts, bland toppings, and a lack of resemblance to fresh pizza plagued the early versions. However, innovation and technology advancements gradually improved the quality.

The Boom: In the 1960s and ’70s, frozen pizza experienced an explosion of popularity. The rise of suburbia, working mothers, and a hunger for convenience meals all contributed to the appeal. Frozen pizza companies invested in marketing and expanded their range of toppings and styles to meet growing consumer demand.

Consequences & Transformation

Convenience Over Authenticity: Frozen pizza offered unprecedented convenience and affordability, but also arguably sacrificed some of the artistry and taste of freshly made pizza.

Accessibility at a Cost: Frozen pizza democratized the dish, making it available in places where pizzerias weren’t present and allowing for quick and easy meals.

Technological Refinement: Constant innovation in freezing techniques, crust technology, and ingredient selection transformed frozen pizza from a sometimes-soggy substitute to an enjoyable, convenient version of a beloved dish in its own right.

The Revolution Today: Frozen pizza remains a staple in many households. High-end gourmet options have emerged, showcasing a wide variety of quality levels and styles, proving the revolution is far from over.

Mrco Polo and the Scallion Pancake

The legend suggests that Marco Polo, the famous Venetian explorer, encountered a dish called “cong you bing” during his travels to China in the 13th century. This is a scallion pancake, a savoury flatbread with scallions cooked inside.

What was the Inspiration for Pizza?  Some believe Marco Polo brought back the idea of a savoury flatbread to Italy, inspiring Italian bakers to create their own version with tomatoes and cheese, which eventually evolved into pizza.

The doubt Factor:  However, there’s no concrete evidence in Marco Polo’s actual writings (which are lost) about him encountering such a dish in China. Additionally, dairy products weren’t widely consumed in China at that time.

So, while there might be a hint of inspiration, the evidence for a direct Chinese connection to pizza is weak. Pizza likely owes more to the long history of flatbreads enjoyed around the Mediterranean, with the key innovation being the addition of tomatoes in Italy.

Do you want an expensive pizza? 

The most expensive pizza ever is the Louis XIII pizza created by Renato Viola in Salerno, Italy. This extravagant pizza rings in at a jaw-dropping $12,000! (2023)

Here’s why it commands such a price:

Rare and Luxurious Ingredients: The Louis XIII features an exquisite selection of toppings, including three types of rare caviar, lobster from Norway, hand-picked pink Australian salt, and buffalo mozzarella.

Preparation Time: The dough for the pizza is made with special organic flour and takes an extraordinary 72 hours to prepare.

Exclusivity: The pizza is designed for two, and isn’t served in a restaurant. Instead, a team including a chef, sommelier, and waiter arrive at your home to prepare and serve this culinary masterpiece.

Lao Pizza Heaven will deliver a pizza for 2 or a party for a fraction of this price!