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All you can eat
By the metre, or as much as you can eat: pizza was the first form of food in the world to start the “all you can eat” craze.
The German leader always used to say: those who work hard need to be well nourished and for this reason he would eat 12 eggs at a time. Hence the name of a pizza dedicated to him, with an egg dropped in its centre when cooked.
A variation on the turnover pizza theme, whose pocket is stuffed with your favourite ingredients: from salted meats to mozzarella cheese, where they keep warm and oozy for much longer.
Water, wheat flour, salt, oil and yeast: this is the only way to make authentic Neapolitan pizza dough, and its recipe is protected by national and European legislation.
It started life as an economical meal, made from a few simple ingredients: today pizza is also a gourmet dish, reinterpreted in experimental versions by many great chefs
Fried pizza is a special version of the Neapolitan pizza, which is smaller in size and fried instead of being baked in the oven. It may be served with or without stuffing, and is often sold as street food.
It is one of the most widespread dishes in the world, since it is consumed everywhere, with minor variations on a basic theme. In the Oxfam classification of the most popular foods in the world it shares the podium with pasta, meat and rice.
With branches in 90 countries, Pizza Hut is the most widespread pizza producer in the world, even though Domino Pizza is the largest. While the longest delivery of all times carried a vegetarian pizza from London to Melbourne, Australia.
The Italian city of Naples is where pizza was born and its name derives from the Latin word pinsere, meaning to pound or press. Here, pizza makers are proper dynasties, handing down the art of making and rolling out dough from father to son.
There are many record-making pizzas but the largest ever to be put on the market comes from Johannesburg, South Africa, where it was produced in a supermarket and then sold: made from 500 kg of flour, its diameter measured over 37 metres Japan In the classification of strange pizza toppings, Japan can boast the most bizarre tastes: common ingredients include eel, squid and “Mayo jaga”, which is a combination of mayonnaise, potatoes and bacon.
A special sort of pizza also exists in Turkey, Greece and many Eastern countries: pita bread closely resembles pizza and is used for wrapping around kebabs, the meat cooked on vertical skewers, which is then garnished with sauces, potatoes and salad.
Traditional pizza dough, but crowned with lobsters, luxury cheese, caviar and hand-picked flakes of Australian pink salt: this is the Luigi XIII pizza. Be ready to foot the bill if you want to eat one: just 12,000 dollars. But there’s always the Royale pizza, created by an Italian: in honour of 007, it is topped with gold leaf, 1958 Dom Perignon, lobsters again and the finest salmon.
The Italian school of pizza making dictates that the dough should be kneaded exclusively on a marble top, dusted with flour (Naples to) New York From Naples, where pizza was born, to New York: the first pizzeria was opened in the American city as early as 1905, thanks to Italian immigrants, and the Big Apple is still the US location with the highest consumption.
Last summer in Naples, the first pizza Olympics were held: in spite of the fact that Italy walked away with the greatest number of medals, the surprise winner in the “traditional pizza” category was a Japanese pizza chef from Hiroshima.
Only with the introduction of tomatoes to Europe, later to be transformed into tomato pulp (pummarola in Neapolitan) did it become pizza as we know it today.
The Margherita is the most common pizza in the world: covered with red pummarola, white mozzarella and a basil leaf, it was invented in 1889 by the Neapolitan pizzaiolo, Raffaele Esposito, as a tribute to the Italian flag and named after the Queen.
The typical shape of traditional pizza: starting from a little ball of dough, it is rolled out into a disc shape. Don’t miss the sight of an acrobatic pizza chef juggling the rolled out dough of a whole pizza on one finger.
In spite of tradition, pizza is often eaten in slices in various parts of the world, especially outside Italy: sliced pizza is made in extra-large diameters and then cut in the shop while it is still hot. The most common type of sliced pizza? The pepperoni pizza, which is the one topped with salami.
If the pizza base is more or less the same worldwide, chefs give vent to their imagination when it comes to toppings, which vary considerably according to where in the world they are cooked: from Japanese squid to the sweet and sour taste of pineapple pizza, not to mention crocodile meat and insects.
Early in 2012, as an Italian candidate for inclusion in the Unesco world heritage list, the pizza failed to make it. It was beaten by the art of Cremona lute makers.
Pizza is also one of the most popular dishes with vegetarians. And, on the subject of vegetables, Icelanders are said to grow them in greenhouses in order to enjoy the vegetable-topped pizzas they love so much, in spite of their harsh climate.
Authentic pizza is cooked in a wood-fired stove, better still if it is lined with lava stone from Vesuvius, with a small, low entrance to avoid heat dispersion.
So good and so widespread as to be likened to sex: one of the most popular quotations on this theme has been attributed to Mel Brooks and Sharon Stone, which goes like this: “Sex is like pizza, even when it's bad it's still pretty good”.
Brewer’s yeast is normally used to make pizza but it is most important to let the dough rise properly before putting it in the oven: otherwise the pizza base will continue to rise when it reaches the stomach.
Among the American take-away pizza chains, this is one of the most popular: at zpizza they only use quality-controlled organic ingredients, all exclusively made in USA, just like this chain which was first set up in California