Categories: Food & Drink

6 Places that Created Pizza as We Know It

If you know anything about pizza, then you know that pizza comes in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Pizza was invented in Greece over two thousand years ago, by creating a flat bread topped with olive oil, herbs, a bit of cheese, and spices. This resembles what today is known as focaccia bread. From there, pizza went to Italy, where tomato sauce and cheese were added, and before we knew it, pizza became what we know it to be today. Here’s six places that were instrumental in the process of creating pizza as we know it!

1. New York City

If you’ve ever had a big triangle slice of tasty pizza pie with a bit of fluffy crust on the edge, you’ve had a New York style slice. This type of pizza was invented in Brooklyn, where some of the world’s very best pizza places still are today. Legendary shops to check out are Lucali’s and Di Fara’s.

New York is also the home of  two different pan style pies known as the Sicilian and the Grandma pizzas. Sicilian is a very thick and dense pizza that is about 2-3 inches of pure bread. The Grandma pan pie is about half as thick, and is a bit crunchier and not so filling. Umberto’s of Long Island is credited with being the first in New York to offer this style, and they still sell it to this day!

2. Ancient Greece

Believe it or not, as mentioned above, pizza got its start in Ancient Greece over two thousand years ago. The Ancient Greeks would take dough and flatten it out to make flatbread, which they would then top with herbs, garlic, and a bit of cheese with olive oil. This creation would then be baked off in mud ovens and served warm. Today’s popular focaccia bread resembles what the Greeks invented so many years ago.

If the Greeks hadn’t experimented with these ingredients to create what they called plakous, we would have never ended up with the pizza we know today. However, Greece did not include one key ingredient: the tomato sauce. It would take a few hundred years to add that key ingredient, but nevertheless, Greece was quintessential in establishing the foundations for the types of pizza we eat to this day.

3. Naples

Naples is the revolutionary place that added their famous tomatoes to Greece’s flatbread. The story goes that Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita had visited the lovely town of Naples, and baker Raffaele Esposito was given the instruction to make them something special. He, of course, did exactly as he was told and created what would soon be known as the Margherita pizza, named after the Queen who loved it so much. 

The Margherita was made by placing tomato sauce on the crust and then adding fresh mozzarella and a sprig of basil to finish it off. Simple, yet tasteful, the Margherita pizza is winning awards all over the world. It has been changed a tad, as most now put fresh garlic and olive oil and even a bit of parmesan to spice it up. Some people believe it isn’t a Margherita without the fresh tomato, but there isn’t any indication that fresh tomato was ever used on Esposito’s masterpiece.

4. New Haven

America’s east coast is a destination for foodies looking to try various types of pizza. First, we had New York, and now we have New Haven. The original New Haven pie was made by a man named Frank Pepe, whose family still has shops open in New Haven. New Haven-style pizza is super thin, like the thinnest on this list. It is made with a dough that is rolled flat and properly tossed so that there are no extra puffy air bubbles like there might be in a thicker style of pizza.

New Haven is a round pizza that is served with minimal cheese to avoid extra and unnecessary grease and moisture. From there, it is cooked in an oven that is kept at a higher temperature than most of the others on the list. All of these factors combined to enable a nice dark char pattern on the bottom and edges of the pizza. As many New Haven pizza makers say, char is not burnt, it’s flavor!

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5. Chicago

Chicago is home to the famous deep-dish pizza that you can order at any Uno’s restaurant in the U.S. Deep dish pizza is served as a small round pizza that is cooked in a cast-iron pan. The walls of the pizza are solid and thick, and it’s incredibly saucy and cheesy in the middle. It is also often made with a layer of meat, usually sausage, underneath the sauce and cheese. Basically, you have crust, toppings (meats), cheese, and then chunky sauce on the top!

Chicago’s famous deep dish is believed by some to have been created by Pizzeria Uno’s chef Ike Sewell. Others believe it was a different chef from Uno’s named Rudy Malnati. A third group gives credit to Saverio Rosati, whose descendants say he was the creator in 1926 when he opened his pizza shop. No matter who invented it, Chicago deep dish is made to this day!

6. Rome

The final pizza on our list resembles what we know today to be a party-sized pizza. Party pizzas are long and rectangular and are cut into a bunch of small squares. Roman pizza is quite similar to this style, as it too is long and rectangular, and it is cut into slightly bigger rectangle slices, as it is often served by the slice. Roman pizza is also a pie that is relatively thin, but fluffy, the way you might describe a well-made party pizza. 

Ancient Rome made pizza very similar to what the Ancient Greeks made, which is like focaccia, as I mentioned before. This more modern type of Roman pizza wasn’t created until about the 1960s, and it has been a hit in Italy ever since. While a bit harder to find a “true” Roman pie state-side, it’s still a key place in pizza’s history.

Which of these tasty styles of pizzas sounds the best to you? Which famous pizza place do you want to try? Let us know in the comments!

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Casey Lanza-Lang

My name is Casey, and I'm an ambitious 22 year old senior English major with a minor in Creative Writing. I love all kinds of writing, so I plan to get a Master's degree in Creative Writing after graduation. My goal here at Society19 is to share my writing with the world in a way that is meaningful and relevant to my readers' lives. I am thrilled to share my ideas and creativity with you all, and I thank you for reading! Humbly Yours, Casey Erin

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