Pizza Through the Ages



9 Questions

What is the origin of pizza?

What innovation led to flatbread pizza?

Who is widely attributed to creating the Margherita pizza?

What are the specific rules set by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana for an authentic Neapolitan pizza?

When was the pizza napoletana granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Union?

Who is generally accepted as the first US business to sell pizza?

When was the Hawaiian pizza invented?

What is the percentage of the US population that consumes pizza on any given day?

What is the defining feature of life in cities and suburbs with significant ethnic-Italian populations by the 1970s?


History and Evolution of Pizza: Key Facts and Figures

  • Pizza has its origins in ancient cultures producing basic flatbreads with toppings, such as the focaccia in Rome.

  • The modern pizza evolved from flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century.

  • The word pizza was first documented in AD 997 in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy.

  • Allied troops stationed in Italy during World War II helped to popularize pizza outside of Italy.

  • The use of tomato as a topping was the innovation that led to flatbread pizza.

  • The Margherita pizza, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, is widely attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito in 1889, who baked it to honor Queen Margherita of Savoy.

  • The "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana" has set specific rules that must be followed for an authentic Neapolitan pizza, including being baked in a wood-fired, domed oven, and the base must be hand-kneaded.

  • The Hawaiian pizza, topped with pineapple and ham, was invented in Canada in 1962.

  • In December 2009, the pizza napoletana was granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Union.

  • In December 2017, the pizza napoletana was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

  • Pizza in Canada is commonly served with bacon and mushrooms, and Pizza Pops are a Canadian calzone-type snack introduced in the 1960s.

  • Pizza first made its appearance in the United States with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, and Lombardi's is one of the generally accepted first US businesses to sell pizza, opening in 1897 as a grocery store.The History of Pizza in the United States

  • Some pizza establishments in the US are still family-owned and operated.

  • Pizza was introduced to Los Angeles by the D'Amore family in 1939.

  • Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was invented by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo in 1943.

  • Pizza consumption in the US was mostly limited to Italian immigrants and their descendants before the 1940s.

  • After World War II, veterans returning from Italy became a ready market for pizza.

  • By the 1960s, pizza was popular enough to be featured in an episode of Popeye the Sailor.

  • Neighborhood pizzerias became a defining feature of life in cities and suburbs with significant ethnic-Italian populations by the 1970s.

  • Pizza chains such as Domino's and Pizza Hut have contributed to the explosion of pizza consumption in the US.

  • Leading early pizza chains were Shakey's Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesars.

  • Pizzas from take and bake pizzerias, and chilled or frozen pizzas from supermarkets make pizza readily available nationwide.

  • On any given day, 13% of the US population consumes pizza.

  • Competition among small neighborhood pizzerias is intense, leading to an average level of quality that is a point of regional pride.


Think you know everything about pizza? Test your knowledge on the history and evolution of this beloved dish with our quiz! From its ancient origins to its modern-day popularity, we dive into key facts and figures about pizza, including its Neapolitan roots, the invention of the Hawaiian pizza, and the rise of pizza chains in the US. Put your pizza expertise to the test and see how many fun facts you know about this iconic food.

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