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Pizza – A history! How this Italian delicacy became an Indian favourite

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The Pizza is universally loved and though Italian in origin, the pizza has now reached all corners of the globe with each country coming up with a distinctive version of their own.

The word Pizza is derived from a Latin word named “pinso” which means beat/pound. A greek word pitta is also said to have contributed to giving the name pizza. Pitta essentially refers to a flatbread.

Where did it all start? How have these flatbreads with toppings and cheese become a global phenomenon?

Around 600 B.C., the peasants living in Naples needed something to eat on the go. So, vendors sold inexpensive round bread with various toppings such as tomatoes, cheese, anchovies and olive oil or in other words, the first-ever pizza.

This simple delicacy climbed the rungs of the social ladder when Queen Margherita (yup, your plain cheese ones are named after her) got bored of what was being served in her royal kitchen and chanced upon from street pies. That kiss of royalty is all that the pizza needed to begin its journey around the globe.

In the early 19th century, Southern Italians migrated to the United States in search of better jobs. They took their traditional recipes with them and thus the pizza found a new home in the West. =

Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria in Manhattan in 1905. The American public took to the Italian delicacy with fervour and made it their own. Especially after the end of the second world war, American soldiers stationed in Italy came back home and spread the good word on flatbreads with cheese.

Pizza was merely a small snack sold in quaint bakeries in India till the 1980s. The advent of television, aggressive advertising of American pizza chains and the opening of the Indian market paved the way for the Americanized Italian classic to turn east.

True Story

As versatile as it is, the pizza took India by storm, with pizzerias coming up with innovative Indian flavoured pizzas with unique toppings.
Paneer on pizza became a staple and so did the tandoori chicken. Indian chefs have innovated with the Italian delicacy and come up with lip-smacking versions of their own.

Pepperoni is one of the most popular toppings and dominates 36% of the pizza sales in India.

Ludo’s Pizza at Bangalore

With the rise in popularity of pizzas, the need to churn out healthy options of this popular fast food became prominent. Artisanal pizzas broke into the scene to serve pizzas that are low on fat and calorie content. From whole wheat flour to rye, soya bean or lentil flours or even ethnic millets like ragi or foxtail millet flours can be incorporated into the dough to make pizzas nutritionally richer. Low-fat mozzarella is becoming popular as a reduced-calorie option.

Pizzas can be prepared and flavoured to suit everyone’s palette. If you’re in Bangalore and looking for different options in the city, click the link below for the top five pizza joints in the city

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