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Pizza – the most popular food in the world

Pizza with salami tomatoes olives cheese - Nosta restaurant Cork

Pizza tops the list of the most popular foods in the world. Every year, people consume around 5 billion pizzas. Moreover, this open-faced sandwich, tops the list of most photographed foods. No wonder there is a World Pizza Day to celebrate it.

But how did this open-faced sandwich become so sensational? 
Here is the information you'll want to know. From its name to its history to its preparation, pizza has a fascinating history that all pizza lovers should know.

How pizza got its name

Pizza - Nosta restaurant Cork

Giuseppe Noca, a respected food historian, claims that the word pizza first appeared in a document dating back to 997 AD. In accordance with this historian, the word was used in a village in Gaeta, north of Naples, Italy. 

In the document, an heir to a feudal lord promises pizza Cork to a local church leader as an annual gift.

The villagers of Gaeta may have taken the word from pinsere, a Latin word meaning to knead with one's hands. Equally well, the villagers of Gaeta could have taken the word pizza from the Greek word pitta, meaning flatbread, or from the Lombard word pizzo, meaning morsel. No one knows its exact origin.

The Startling History of Pizza

Pizza takeaway - Nosta restaurant Cork

Although very popular, pizza had a rather obscure beginning. In 600 BC, when it was apparently invented, pizza was considered a street food for the rural population. It was mainly consumed by underprivileged Greek settlers who were staying in Naples, Italy.
At that time, pizza was a very simple dish. It was a flatbread topped with tomatoes, garlic, and seasonal vegetables. Ancient pizza was very popular with the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans.

In June 1889, pizza took a big leap forward. Raffaele Esposito , a famous pizzaiolo in Naples, Italy, made a pizza in honour of King Umberto 1 and Queen Margherita. The nobles had just visited Naples.
Raphael's pizza was open flat-topped with white mozzarella, red tomatoes, and green basil. The baker arranged the toppings to resemble the colours of the Italian flag - green, white and red. Queen Margherita immediately fell in love with the pizza.

From then on, pizza became more and more popular. In 1905, Italian immigrants to the United States opened the first pizzeria in New York City. Within a very short time, other pizzerias sprang up in Chicago, New Jersey, California and other states.

The preparation of delicious pizza

Pizza preparation - Nosta restaurant Cork

Although anyone can make a pizza, baking one is an art. 
The process requires superior hands-on experience in choosing the right ingredients, mixing them professionally, and cooking them at the right temperatures. Here is a little insight into the magical process chefs use to prepare this delicious dish.

Preparation of the pizza

Making the pizza crust
Ingredients for a 10-12 inch crust
¾ cup warm water 2 tablespoons instant yeast 2 tablespoons olive oil 250g all-purpose or bread flour.
¾ tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in a container. Let the mixture sit until it begins to form bubbles. This process will take five to ten minutes.
Then empty the flour into a large mixing bowl, salad bowl or soup bowl. Mix the flour with salt and olive oil. Add the activated yeast to the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until thick paste forms.
Transfer the sticky flour dough to a clean work surface. Knead it into a soft and smooth ball of dough. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and let it rise for half an hour.

Preparation of the sauce
Ingredients for the preparation of the pizza sauce
½ can tomato paste 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon dried oregano and basil.
¾ cup water
This is the easiest way to prepare pizza. Mix the tomato paste with water, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried oregano, basil and salt. Puree the mixture in a food processor. Place the pureed mixture in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until you have a thick pizza sauce.

Prepare the pizza topping
There are no limits when it comes to pizza toppings. Chefs make them from grated cheese, pepperoni, ham, pineapple, grilled meats, shrimp, sausage, margherita, mushrooms, artichokes, or sauteed vegetables. Everyone has the freedom to choose a topping combination that tastes best to them.

Assemble the pizza for baking
Spread the dough on a parchment paper or baking sheet to form a round crust. Most likely, the crust should be 1.4 inches thick and 10-12 inches wide. Use a spoon to spread the sauce evenly over the dough. Spread the cheese and toppings over the sauce.

Baking the pizza

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not be afraid to turn the oven up to higher temperatures if you want a pizza with a crispy crust. Let the oven run for about half an hour before sliding in your finished pizza.
After 30 minutes, slide your pizza onto the baking stone of your oven. Alternatively, you can bake the pizza directly on parchment paper or a pizza tray. Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese melts. And you have a delicious pizza which you can eat at lunch or any other meal.

Pizza ingredients that make all the difference
Even pizza made with similar ingredients tastes different. That's why many pizza lovers claim that the pizza they make at home or order outside their favourite restaurant tastes different. Do you know why? The difference depends on the crust and the cheese used.

Pizza crust
The crust makes or breaks the taste of your pizza. A thin crust gives the pizza light and crispy texture. A thin crust also allows you to enjoy the full flavour of the pizza toppings, cheese and sauce.
The thick crust has a buttery, bread-like flavour and chewy texture. In a pizza like this, the flavour of the crust is often more pronounced than the toppings and cheese. Reputable pizzerias like Pizza Hut are known for making pizzas with this kind of crust.

Pizza Cheese
Like the crust, the type of cheese used for the pizza also affects the overall taste of the pizza. The crust and toppings of the pizza soak up the flavours of the cheese. Chefs always choose a cheese that will pair well with the flavours of the pizza topping. Some of the most flavorful cheeses preferred by chefs are:
Cheddar cheese
Goat cheese

Conclusion about Pizza
Pizza is a popular dish for family dinners, parties, dates, and virtually any special occasion. The cheese and toppings of pizza are rich in glutamate, a compound that stimulates the human taste buds in a special way. No wonder it is a top dish for millions of people around the world.
Surprisingly, pizza was not so noble when it was first introduced. Originally, it was simple street food for peasants. It gained its fame when Raffaele Esposito created an improved version for Queen Margherita.

Frequently asked questions

Why is pizza called pizza?

The ancient Italians may have derived pizza from the Greek word pitta, meaning pie, simply because pizza is cut into small pie-like pieces and eaten. In fact, in Italy, the home of pizza, the word pizza simply means cake.

Is pizza a sandwich or a pie?

Pizza is an open-faced sandwich. Like many sandwiches, pizza has a bread base and is filled with vegetables, cheese, meats, mushrooms and other foods on the top, much like sandwiches. It only lacks the top layer of bread to be considered a true sandwich.
However, some people, especially Italians, use the terms pizza and pie interchangeably. This is because pizza is cut into small cake-like portions before serving. Also, pizza means pie in Italy.

Which country invented pizza?

Historical records show that the first pizza-like food was eaten in Egypt, Greece, Armenia, Israel and Babylon. This ancient pizza was a flat pie topped with vegetables, oil and herbs. Modern pizza, however, was invented in Italy. Street vendors made pizza and sold it as an inexpensive dish for peasants who could not afford a decent meal.

Why does pizza taste so good?

The great taste of pizza is a combination of fatty cheese, baked crust, sweet sauce, and caramelised meat, fruit, and vegetable toppings. Researchers claim that the cheese, toppings and sauce contain glutamate, a natural flavour enhancer. Humans naturally love foods that contain glutamate.

Who has the best pizza in the world?

If you want the tastiest pizza but do not want to take any chances, Nosta Cork is the best place to order from. The restaurant works with a team of chefs who know a thing or two about making pizzas. They know what it takes to get the crust right, and they know how to choose toppings wisely. Nosta's pizza will never disappoint.

Which country eats the most pizzas?

Norway is the biggest consumer of pizza. On average, each Norwegian citizen consumes 5 kg of pizza per year. Norwegians honour pizza as their unofficial national dish. The United States comes in second place.

Which pizza is best in terms of taste?

Although all pizzas taste good, pepperoni pizza tops the list of most popular flavours. Pizza lovers say they love the smoky, bold and spicy taste of pizza. No wonder pepperoni pizzas are among the most ordered pizzas.

What are the top 5 pizzas?

There is no denying that all types of pizza taste great as long as they are prepared by someone with experience. However, many restaurants and takeaways rank the following 5 pizzas among their most popular. This simply means that pizza lovers adore them.
-Pepperoni Pizza
-Cheese pizza
-Veggie pizza
-Meat pizza
-Margherita pizza

What is the best 3-topping pizza?

That depends on your own taste preferences. However, many pizza lovers choose pepperoni as the most delicious topping. This is closely followed by sausage and bacon. When offered multiple toppings, many people stick with the three toppings.
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