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Pizza According to the World

picture of a traditional Pizza Margherita my by a Centennial College Chef

Pizza is pretty much perfect. No, seriously. Think about it: It's savoury, salty and cheesy. It can be customized to your liking (pineapple does belong on pizza, who's with me?). It's portable! It's affordable! And you can get a slice pretty much everywhere. That brings me to my next point, since pizza as we know it today was created in Naples, Italy, it has become a worldwide hit. Many places have created their own version of pizza. Here is a look at how a pie is done in different countries.


Ah, the home of pizza. In 16th century Naples, a galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza. It was known as a dish for the poor and sold by street vendors. Then in 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, a Neapolitan pizza maker created the "Pizza Margherita." It was garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, to represent Italy's national colours. Today, much Italian pizza remains true to this tradition. Authentic Neapolitan pizza is minimalist with a thinner crust, mozzarella and tomatoes  rather than the tomato sauce common in North America. A popular alternative is Sicilian pizza, which is made with a thick crust.


Speaking of thick crust. Chicago is the home of deep-dish pizza. We may call pizza's base a "pizza pie" but if we are being honest, it is more like a flatbread. Chicago’s deep-dish pizza, however, is a true pie as it is made in a round steel pan with high edges. In this case, the dough is pressed up onto the side of the pan, forming almost a bowl. Because this takes a longer time to bake, which could burn the cheese and other topping, deep-dish pizza is assembled upside down. The crust is covered with cheese followed with meat options and other toppings such as mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. The finishing layer is an uncooked sauce, typically made from crushed canned tomatoes.


You'll find minced meat and vegetables, herbs such as parsley and spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and cinnamon on the Turkish version of pizza, known as Lachmacun. The toppings are on a thin piece of dough. Often, this pizza is also turned into a wrap around vegetables such as pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce and roasted eggplant. And, no, there is no cheese in sight when it comes to Lachmacun.


There is actually no comparison between Japan's version of pizza, known as Okonomiyaki, and the Italian original. That's because the recipe contains more of a pancake-like base, which is grilled, and loaded with cabbage, pork, noodles and squid if you are in the Hiroshima area. It is then topped with an egg and the Okonomiyaki sauce that gives it its name, which is a sweeter version of Worcestershire sauce. And while some people love hot pepper flakes on their pizza, this version is garnished with bonito fish flakes. In the Kansai area, meanwhile, toppings include green onion, pork belly, octopus, shrimp, vegetables and cheese.

If you love exploring the world through food and want to turn that love into a career, Centennial College has the program for you. The school's Food Tourism program examines the exciting connections between experience, gastronomy, wine, culture, food traditions and communities.

By Izabela Szydlo

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