Pizza may be the most quintessential Italian specialty there is. Still, it is a dish that is beloved all around the world. The mere mention of the word "pizza" just about brings a smile to any person's face. And regardless of style or variety — whether it is the thick, toppings-packed Chicago-style deep-dish pizza that is loaded with cheese and all kinds of meat, to the thin crust pizza that some are content to pack with vegetables — pizza no doubt makes the favorite food list of nearly every single person on earth.
Made on a flat stone, cooked over an open flame inside an oven, and topped off with different kinds of cheese, meats, or veggies — there are just so many ways to make this beloved dish. And no matter how you serve the slices up, it is bound to come away delicious. As ubiquitous as pizza is, just how well do you know this Italian entree?
Here are five fun facts that you just might not know about pizza:
Pizza is not that old
You may believe that pizza has been around for a very long time, but it is not as old you might have thought. As a matter of fact, as classic as an Italian dish pizza is, it has only been around since the 1800s.
While different cultures have been serving flatbread with different ingredients on top of it, it was not until the year 1889 that the very first pizza was served. It was actually made for King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy during their visit to Naples, and it was a relatively simple one, having mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil for its toppings. Thus the very first pizza was born and given the name Margherita after the queen herself.
Americans love their pizza
Did you know that the average American person devours a mind-boggling 6,000 pizza slices in one lifetime? That is basically one in every 10 persons eat at least three pizza slices each week. This statistic just goes to show the love affair between Americans and this Italian dish! So think about it, how close are you to reaching the 6,000-slice mark?
There is a national day celebrating cheese pizza
Are your friends always on you for wanting pizza that only has cheese and cheese alone? Well, if you are tired of getting ribbed about it, tell them that there is actually a national holiday on September 5 that is solely dedicated to celebrating the beloved cheese pizza. So long as the cheese being used is of excellent quality, cheese pizza can actually be very satisfying to your palate and filling for your tummy. So, go and celebrate this obscure national holiday by ordering an entire pie for yourself.
The largest pizza in the world is in Rome
A group of chefs from NIPfood in Rome actually holds the record for the largest pizza ever made! It contained a huge surface area of 13,580.28 square feet, which broke the previous world record that was owned by Norwood Hypermarket in South Africa. The pizza, which was named Ottavia after the Roman emperor, Octavian Augustus, needed nearly 20,000 pounds of the floor and a whopping 10,000 pounds of mozzarella cheese! What's even more surprising, though, is the pizza was 100% gluten-free!
There's an annual gathering of pizza lovers held in Las Vegas
Considered to be the biggest gathering of pizza enthusiasts anywhere in the entire world, the International Pizza Expo is held each and every year at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It has over 500 exhibitors and 1,400 booths and attracts pizza restaurant proprietors, ingredient distributors, marketing experts, and other pizza-related people in the industry.