Pineapple on pizza has become the cause of arguments and topic of debates. There’s no denying the fact that some people love it, and some people don’t. But why the divide?
Where It All Started
The pizza that we know today originated from Italy, more specifically in Naples. It was born sometime in the 18th century. Being the birthplace of pizza, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people take pizza very seriously in Naples as well as in most parts of Italy. In fact, the EU in 2009 granted Naples traditional specialty guaranteed status to protect the base recipe of the original pizza against falsification or misuse.
But then the Hawaiian pizza came into the picture. It was in 1962 in Canada when Sam Panopoulos, an immigrant from Greece, decided to introduce pizza in their family owned restaurant in Ontario after coming back home from a trip to Naples. The pizzas in this restaurant started as traditional at first. They had toppings like pepperoni, bacon and mushrooms.
But then he started to be adventurous with the menu and introduced Chinese meals like sweet and sour chicken, which as you probably know, has pineapple in it. The dish was a hit so he figured he’d add pineapple to his pizzas as well.
That too became a hit among the local diners.
This may be due to the nice combination of sweet and savory. It could also be due to the growing fascination in Hawaiian culture. It became an American state in the late 1950s and it didn’t take long for everyone to fall in love with the tropical island lifestyle.
The Hawaiian pizza started in Canada but it quickly spread throughout North America and around the world. It continues to be a controversial dish in spite of its global appeal.
A renowned pizza chef, Franco Pepe, who has a restaurant in Naples, on the other hand, has not shied away from using pineapple on his pizza. Dubbed the best pizza maker in the world, Pepe even won an award for his rendition of the Hawaiian pizza.
He believes that the main reason many do not want pineapple on their pizza is that it was risky to combine the fruit with tomato as both are acidic. The double acidity could lead to a weak taste, plus canned pineapple contains lots of sugar.
Pepe’s take on the Hawaiian pizza uses cold fresh pineapple wrapped in ham. That way the pineapple will shine on its own without affecting the taste of the whole dish.
If you love pineapple on your pizza, you’re definitely not alone. Countless people do, myself included! But here’s a tip for you – don’t ask for pineapple pizza in Italy! I mean sure, Pepe may be the best pizza maker in the world but even he could not convince others who dislike the pineapple pizza.
In America, a lot of people dislike anchovies as a topping. Even in places like TGI Fridays. But in Italy, there’s no doubt it’s pineapple. As the birthplace of pizza, this country has lots of pizza purists. They stick to traditional toppings like pepperoni, basil, cheese and tomatoes. If you are visiting Italy and are craving for Hawaiian pizza, just don’t. You could get kicked out of a restaurant.