Pizza, as we know it, is an Italian culinary speciality. It is famous around the world, but some historians believe that its origin is not Italian. Some six thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews used a similar type of dough. However, the pizza as we know today was invented in the 1600s, when the tomato was introduced into European culinary culture.
Since its arrival in São Paulo at the beginning of the 1900s, via Italian immigrants, the consumption of pizza has been steadily growing. Today São Paulo is known as the national capital of the pizza, which has a special day: 10 July is celebrated as National Pizza Day. On this date, pizza restaurants offer discounts and promote events to celebrate it. It all started in 1985 with a contest to choose the ten best pizzas. The event was a success and the final day of celebration was chosen as National Pizza Day.
The pizzas made in Brazil gained a lot of flavours and a variety of not-so-common ingredients were added to them. As we have a special taste for sweets, in Brazil it´s easy to find sweet pizzas, like the ones with brigadeiro (chocolate truffles), guava paste and ice cream. In Bahia you can find pizza with molasses; in Curitiba, pizza with crunchy topping; in Manaus, pizza with regional fruits like tucumã and cupuaçu; in Porto Alegre, of course, you can find pizza with picanha (a special beef cut).
In Sweden, there is a pizza made with caviar from a typical fish called “siklöja” (coregonus albula), which is a small type of salmon.
Pizza is a dish that is not only easy to make but is also very tasty and well-received, especially by children. And it allows for infinite variations, depending on the ingredients of the topping. That reminds me of my son´s birthday party, some years ago when he was still a teenager. We decided to make the pizza dough ourselves and allow guests the opportunity of picking whichever toppings they desired, making their own signature pizza pie. It was a success! I leave here my suggestion, as well as a simple recipe for the dough:
240 g flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
½ to 3/4 cup cold water
Mix all the dry ingredients and add the oil and water. Knead the mixture until a homogenous dough forms, working with your hands to stretch the mixture. Set the oven to 250ºC (480ºF), and place the tray where you will be baking the pizza inside. Stretch the dough on a piece of floured baking paper. Transfer the paper with the pizza to the tray and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven, put the ingredients of your choice on top, along with the cheese, and take the pizza back to the oven. Check back in 5 minutes or more, checking to see if the cheese has thoroughly melted.