As one of the most popular foods in countries all around the world, pizza has been subject to numerous different flavors.
We have come a long way since the very first pizzas that were more like flatbreads and pitas topped with whatever could be found.
It is thought that even as far back as the times of Ancient Rome and Greece that these flatbread-type pizzas were being eaten.
Nowadays, pizzas are eaten far and wide, with preferences changing depending on where in the world you reside.
In this article we aim to introduce you to some of the different kinds of pizza flavors, looking at the toppings and bases of them.
We think it is very interesting how they change depending on where you live. This could be because people have different food preferences depending on how they have been raised and what they are accustomed to eating.
So, if you are a pizza connoisseur and are looking for some inspiration for your next one, or even if you are just interested in the pizza-eating habits of people in other countries, this article is the one for you!
The Most Popular Pizza Flavors and Styles
The flavors of a pizza are wide and varied, but it remains true that wherever you are in the world, there are some flavors that are just universal favorites.
We are going to be using this part of the article to look at some of these most popular pizza flavors, delving a little deeper into the stories behind them.
The original. The most well-known. The one with the story behind it. Margherita pizza is said to be named after the queen of Italy. The legend goes that upon her first visit to Nples when Italy unified, a pizzeria owner and chef commissioned three pizzas especially for her.
The pizza with basil, tomato and mozzarella was said to be her favorite, and so he named it after her. Even today, a Margherita pizza is the pizza of choice for people all over the world.
However, it is still thought that no-one does it better than the people of Naples. The Margherita pizza also made it easy to add other pizza toppings on to it.
You could use Margherita pizza as a base and then add mushrooms, prosciutto, other vegetables and more to it. Of course, this would not be a true Margherita pizza if things were added, but certainly people have gotten creative with it.
Cheese pizza is a classic. This is one of the most popular flavors worldwide. Typically it has a deep dish base but it can also be done on thin crust.
The cheeses will vary depending on where you are, but they are commonly made up of three or four, including mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmigiano reggiano and goats cheese.
It can also have other cheeses such as cheddar cheese, gouda, and parmesan. Think of it like the famous Margherita pizza, only with much more cheese.
An American classic. When Italian immigrants moved to the United States, it wasn’t long before pizzerias started pooping up all over the place, particularly on the Eastern side of America.
New York famously housed the first pizza restaurant, and it opened in 1905. It was called Lombardi’s. It was in these little sectors of Italian immigrants in New York that pepperoni first came to be.
The first acknowledgement was in the early 1900s, and it was not long before it was gracing pizzerias and italian delis all over New York. with its roots firmly in the thriving Italian American community, pepperoni is still thought of as the Number One pizza topping today.
As much as the name suggests, Hawaiian pizza was not made in Hawaii at all. It was made in Canada in the 1960s when a restraneur added pineapple to one of the pizzas he sold.
It became very popular in Canada and soon spread into the States. From there it became known worldwide, and still remains a popular flavor today, even with the debate that it attracts. Does pineapple belong on pizza or not? We think it does!
Pizzas loaded with meat are likely to have been an American creation, too. With the commercialization of pizza in the 1950s onwards, toppings were becoming more adventurous, and being tailored to the appetites of whatever country they were in.
The Chicago deep-dish style pizza was very popular thanks to its inclusion of sausage. Pepperoni was already a very popular topping too, as were other cured meats.
It is likely that chain pizza restaurants popularized toppings such as these, making it easy to be more adventurous. Pizza was becoming more accessible to the masses, and the masses wanted meat!
Popular pizza bases - Dough and sauces
The base is the most important component of the pizza. So much so that there was actually an Association set up in the 1980s that detailed the very specific instructions for making a truly authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Of course, the famed pizza dough from Naples is not the only way to make pizza dough, and as we have already mentioned, it truly depends on where you are in the world.
Different countries, even different towns have their own specific way to make pizza dough. That being said, justy like pizza toppings, there are some dough and base styles that remain favorites all over the world. We will be exploring some of these in this section of the article.
Deep dish / deep pan
This type was made famous by the Chicago style pizza. This buttery dough is loaded with oil and more closely resembled pie crust than the thin, Italian pizza crusts we may be used to seeing.
The resulting pizza is a thick one, and traditionally it had tomato sauce on top, then sausage meat, and lots of cheese. These days you can make it with any topping you wish.
Deep pan pizzas also became popular thanks to pizza chain restaurants such as Pizza Hut. it was not uncommon to get pizzas with crusts that were an inch or two thick.
When you say the words ‘thin crust’, it could be referring to many different types of pizza dough bases. Most likely it will be traditional Neapolitan pizza dough, or perhaps the now world renowned New York style crust.
Both of these are very thin doughs. New York style allows for a sort of floppiness from each pizza slice (careful those toppings don’t fall off), whereas Neapolitan pizzas are smaller, and so they have less floppiness.
They are often quite crispy, thanks to the olive oil and sugar that is used in the recipes.
Stuffed crust pizzas are likely to be made from either of the base types mentioned above, but around the edges of the pizza there will be extra dough that you can stuff with cheese or sauce before rolling it over so that it cooks solid.
Stuffed crust pizzas have long been a favorite ‘premium’ crust choice for lots of the famous pizza chains. It is most commonly seen on thicker crust pizzas.
Traditionally, a tomato based sauce was used on pizzas. This could be anything from plain old tomato puree, to marinara sauce, and the famous Neapolitan sauce.
These sauces were often made with added herbs, too, giving them extra flavor. The pizzas of Napoli used small amounts of their Neapolitan sauce, so that it did not overpower the other delicate flavors.
However, as pizzas became more commercialized, American pizza makers found that more sauce was needed so that the dough did not dry out.
As tastes changed and toppings became more adventurous, so did the sauces that were used on bases. Sure, tomato is still the most popular, but they have some worthy contenders with BBQ bases, garlic butter, buffalo base, and more!
There you have it, a little slice of knowledge about all the most popular flavors of pizza. As we are sure you have realized by now, there are countless flavor combinations that you can get.
We have barely scratched the surface of what is available out there, but we hope we have at least shone some light on the most popular of the flavors, bases, and sauces.
If you have managed to make it to the end of this article without craving a pizza, give yourself a round of applause. As for us….well, the doorbell just sounded so we better go and see what arrived…