The first known pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria, opened in Naples, Italy, in 1738 where the classic topping combination of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil was born. Whilst this classic combo is still popular, some pizza toppings are a far cry from the traditional.
I remember being at a pizzeria in Parma as a child and asking for pineapple on my pizza. After quizzical looks and some confusion, I spotted the waiter popping back from the shop carrying a fresh pineapple. A short while later my pizza arrived at the table covered in full fresh pineapple rings – turns out pineapple as a pizza topping originates from Canada.
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If you’re visiting France you may see pizza take the form of a tarte flambée which replaces tomato sauce for crème fraiche and is topped off with onion and bacon.
In Germany, you’ll most likely find tuna available on your pizza given it’s one of their most popular toppings, often accompanied with onion. Whilst the Dutch love topping their pizza with shwarma (grilled lamb).
Over in Spain and Portugal you’ll likely find chorizo instead of salami or pepperoni as you would in the States. This is sometimes mixed with chicken or peppers to give it an authentic Spanish flavour.
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So what if you want to eat a traditional Italian pizza but want something more interesting than a Margherita? You’ll typically always find these toppings on an Italian pizzeria menu, served without a frown:
Quattro stagioni – tomato base with the topping sections split into four using mushrooms, ham, artichokes and olives, all topped off with cheese.
Diavola – the traditional tomato and mozzarella combo but with added spicy sausage (salsiccia picante)
Prosciutto e funghi – A simple and tasty combination of cooked ham and mushrooms on a tomato base topped with mozzarella.
We love talking about pizza, so if you’ve had an interesting topping combination on your travels, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.