Where Did Pizza Originate?
We thought you might like to find out the history of the fabulous piece of pizza available in Pizza Al Taglio
Although pizza as we know it originated from Italy, its roots actually go back much further than that. Similar foods are known to have been made since the Neolithic age and there are many records throughout history of people adding various ingredients to bread to add flavour.
Flatbreads were often used as an edible plate and some flatbreads have even survived to the modern day such as the naan in South Asia, the Greek pita and of course the focaccia from the Mediterranean.
Possibly the closest relation to the modern pizza was made by the Ancient Greeks and it was a flatbread called plakous which had toppings such as herbs, onion and garlic. With this in mind, it comes as little surprise that Naples (known as the home of pizza) was founded in around 600 BC as a Greek settlement.
Over the centuries Naples grew into a busy waterfront city and many of its population were poor. As they went about their day they needed a quick and inexpensive street food – pizza satisfied this need. These flatbreads, or pizzas, were eaten for any meal, often from street vendors rather than proper restaurants and many of the wealthy thought this was a disgusting thing to do.
These pizzas were quite different from the ones we eat today – in fact the modern pizza’s main ingredient, tomatoes, appeared quite late on. In the early 1500s, tomatoes were just making their way across Europe but to begin with they were very unpopular and people were generally quite suspicious of them. Many people actually believed them to be poisonous!
The poor people of Naples however started to use tomatoes on their pizzas and this was the birth of the pizza that we know and love today. The dish became more and more popular and word spread. Tourists visiting Naples started to venture into the poorer areas of the city to taste it.
In the late part of the 19th century even the King and Queen of Italy wanted to try the local dish as they had heard so much about it. While they were visiting Naples a pizza maker called Raffaele Esposito cooked three different varieties of pizza, one of which the Queen (Margherita of Savoy) enjoyed so much that she sent him a thank you note. The pizza in question was garnished with tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) to represent the three colours on the Italian flag. Raffaele decided to dedicated the pizza to the Queen and called it ‘Pizza Margherita’ in her honour. The Margherita is still one of the most popular varieties of pizza today.
One of the most popular ways to eat pizza in Italy is called pizza al taglio, literally translated as ‘by the cut’. It was invented in Rome and gradually became popular not only across Italy but worldwide. The pizza is baked in a large rectangular tray and sold by the slice.
You can now find pizza al taglio right here in Ipswich at Isaac’s very own Pizza Al Taglio restaurant. When there are so many delicious varieties of pizza on our menu why should you have to choose only one? Visit our pizza restaurant and you can try a slice of as many different pizzas as you wish!
At Isaacs our pizzas are freshly cooked and served the Italian way.
Visit us for a taste of Italy on Ipswich’s vibrant Waterfront.