Pizza by the region (part 1)
It’s not that often when in the history of human civilization one culture manages to influence the entire globe because there are various barriers that have to be surmounted in order to reach a wider public, however when it comes to food, the struggle is less daunting because everybody needs to eat, and everybody loves great tasting food, so considering these reasons, Italy’s greatest cultural ambassador has been and still is…pizza.
We won’t really talk about the history of the name or who actually claims to have invented either the word or the actual fish, what we’ll focus on however is how pizza evolved and spread through the ages.
Everybody is pretty clear that it all started with Mediterranean flatbread, and the Romans – obviously – were the ones to create ‘offa’ a sort of focaccia made with dough from tougher wheat and more water so that it can be stretched easier without losing its gluten-given chewiness. With the characteristics of this flexible crust, the rustic Roman pizza can be loaded with anything and everything that one’s heart might desire.
When it comes to modern Rome, depending on when exactly you’ll visit it you’ll still find a tradition towards offering season toppings like squash blossoms with anchovies, or you can just get the simplest and most basic of original pizzas, extra-virgin olive oil, rosemary and salt. Ancient Roman Emperors would most likely approve of the pizza capricciosa which is something of a Roman feast in pizza form, or you can also venture into the city’s historic Jewish Ghetto where you can find white pizza with potato, rosemary and taleggio cheese.
You might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned anything about tomato sauce, well because tomatoes didn’t come to Europe till after the discovery of the New World. However, even before that particular fruit got imported it is said that there was something called Liguria’s ‘pissa d’Andrea’ which even to this day omits New World ingredients like potatoes and tomatoes. This means that the Lingurian pizza predates the Naples-creaded pizza margherita – thought to be the initial incarnation of modern pizza.
We’ll continue our look into the history of pizza in a future article, till then, keep our Italy car rental services in mind if you plan to do a pizza-tour of the country.