Pizza- The journey of a savoury pie – Erakina

Pizza is a whole mood in itself ! But have you ever wondered how it came into the limelight? Here’s a sneak peek into the journey of pizza.

The savory pie

  •  It is believed that the pie was initially a dish that was consumed by the poor people in Italy. 
  • Back in 1889, it was simply garnished with Mozzarella and a few tomatoes. 
  • It gained popularity when Queen Margherita began to consume it as a meal.
  •  With the passing time, Italian immigrants brought it to the United States of America and since then the world has been savoring the pie
  • The Americans were the ones to introduce it to the world. 

Who invented pizza?

There are several stories narrating the origin of pizza in Italy. But it is believed that the pie was an invention of the ancient Greeks. The matter is debatable but since Italy was founded as a green port city, the pizza must have been developed in Italy.

From the streets to the royal plate!

queen Margherita and the Margherita pizza

So, before mozzarella and tomatoes, pizza was simply breaded with oil and herbs. Mozzarella and tomatoes were added later while the pizza we know today has been enhanced with time. It was street food before the queen had it on her royal plate!

Way to America!

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the immigration of Italians to America in search of jobs. And that was how the culinary culture came to America. And then it turned into an American favorite. By the 1950s, American companies began to commercialize the pie. And then some experiments led to the invention of several styles. In 1980, America invented the California-style pizza which had a thin crust and fancy toppings. 

American pizza vs. Italian pizza:

Pizza pepperoni

Growing through different cultures brought several changes in the savory pie. Italian pizza has a very thin crust and is served with minimal toppings while American pizza is savored with pepperoni and has a thick crust. Pepperoni isn’t found in an Italian pizza.

The variations:

 chocolate pizza

The toppings and styles of pizza became more varied with the pie being entrenched in the local cultures. India savors a pizza with mutton as a topping! This particular pizza is sold in Chennai and goes with the name – mutton sukka pizza. Sweet varieties of pizza have emerged with subsequent experiments. The toppings of sweet pizza include – chocolate, Nutella, fruits, and honey.

Pizza in the Indian market:

Indian food markets knew pizza as a bread base topped with tomato ketchup and processed cheese until 1996 when a few American fast-food chains entered the market with pan pizzas. These pan pizzas led to the formation of several indigenous pizza chains.

 wood-fired pizza

The Chennaites tasted the real Italian pizza with the opening of Bella Ciao, Chennai’s first standalone Italian restaurant. Wood-fired pizza ovens entered the markets when the Italian chefs at Pondicherry experimented with the same. The import of the Italian oven was thus substituted with mango wood that enhanced the taste of the pie with a smoky aroma!

 tandoori prawn pizza

And with subsequent experiments, several fusion styles emerged. The fusion pizzas like ‘Hoisin Chicken’ pizza and Tandoori prawn pizza became prominent in the markets. With the successful experimentation and implementation, several varieties of pizzas have crept into the menu of restaurants.

Pizza has now become a popular food. But they are often branded as a villain when it comes to  calorie count. It is believed that they fuel obesity and are high in fat and sodium. But there are alternatives!

Artisanal pizza:

Artisanal pizza is a viable solution. It is not any special variety but a way of making pizza. The artisanal style finds the use of whole wheat flour, rye, soya bean, and lentil flour for the dough. Even millets like the finger millet and the foxtail millet are incorporated into the dough. It makes them nutritionally richer. Low-fat mozzarella is a reduced-calorie alternative while the toppings are replaced by fresh vegetable varieties. Gluten-free pizzas are also available. 

With an advancing food processing industry, more evolutionary transformation in the savory pie is expected across the globe and is most awaited!


  1. balaji veeramalli

    best food to enjoy and easy to make and became favorite for every one

  2. Tripti

    October has been celebrated as National Pizza month since 1987

  3. Prince Gautam

    Awesome! Great writing!

  4. Fatima Quadri

    Great content!! Got to know more about one of the “Let’s have it” type of food.

    Kudos to the writer & team of Erakina.

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