Pizza – The Ultimate Italian Meal

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Pizza is perhaps the most widely distributed Italian meal in the world.  It has been transformed from its humble beginnings as a flatbread meal to the now famous Chicago and New York style pizzas of today.  How exactly did this phenomenon known as the pizza pie come to pass?  What kind of combinations can be found today?  Which is the most popular?

Pizza in its most basic form dates back to the early greeks who made a seasoned flatbread from water and flour.  Over time, tomatoes and cheese were introduced and voila! pizza was born. While other countries have their own version of pizza, including sweet corn pizza from Japan, sweet pea pizza in Brazil and coconut pizza in Costa Rica.  No matter what the rest of the world does with pizza, Italians tend to be traditionalists.

Pizza made in Italy is prepared in a wood fired stove, they don’t deviate from the traditional round shape, and (almost) never experiment with untried toppings.  While there are regional pizza favorites, of course, they all have certain things in common.  These pizzas have a tomato base, and a mozzarella type cheese and some type of meat.  The meat component of a pizza (even in Italy) can vary widely by region and what happens to be available.

Italy is not immune to changes in the world and some new trends in their pizza are starting to emerge.  Calzones are a popular choice in Italy (as they are in America) and are most often filled with popular pizza toppings such as cheese, meats and vegetables.  While the Italian versions are smaller than the American calzones, they are thought to make a good choice for lunch.

Pizza isn’t just for the main course anymore, dessert pizza is becoming popular in both Italy and America as something out of the ordinary.  This type of pizza is often made of pizza dough, smothered with a sweet sauce (pudding, frosting, etc) and then topped with a variety of fruits and/or candies.  This type of dessert is often made at the request of children.

Pizza is such a versatile meal, whether it is made in the traditional Italian style or customized to be all yours, it seems to be the perfect meal.

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