Pizza: a Delectable History

NOVO Pizzeria forno

Pizza’s story begins in Naples, Italy in the eighteenth century. Historically, pizza was an affordable and nourishing food for peasants and workers who enjoyed simple flatbreads topped with whatever ingredients were available or most affordable at the time. Ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine, fruity olive oil, small salty fish, fresh garlic, rich lard, and sea salt were some of the popular toppings. If you were wandering the streets of Naples back then, you could buy a freshly made pizza from a street vendor – the first convenience food!

Neopolitans ate pizza for survival, but in later centuries, pizza became part of the city’s mythology of which Neopolitans are so deservedly proud; pizza was no longer just for peasants. There is a popular legend that tells of Queen Margherita of Savoy, who, while travelling through the region in the late 1800s, became a fan of a simple pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil – eventually to be known throughout the world as pizza margherita. Pizza margherita became a national symbol; have you noticed that the colours of the three ingredients are the same as the Italian flag? Italian immigrants proudly brought this authentic fare to North America, passing through Ellis Island in New York. Pizza remained an affordable way to feed themselves and still be connected to their roots back home. We North Americans have whole-heartedly adopted pizza into our own culture.

NOVO margerita pizza

At NOVO Pizzeria & Wine Bar, we passionately honour the heritage of the Neapolitan forefathers with an authentic pizza experience. We combine the freshest of ingredients with traditional methods to create a sense of place; evoking the feeling of dining at a tiny table on a sun-drenched sidewalk in old Napoli. The Neapolitan-style pizza is baked in a wood-fired brick oven at high temperatures for a short period of time, so the outside edges get bubbly and crispy, almost caramelized, but the centre remains softer with a delicious bite. Our pizza margherita is a work of art, with house-made pizza crust, amazingly flavourful San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, and silky, hand-crafted fior di latte mozzarella. What at first seems simple becomes a complex dance of texture and flavours. Pizza may have started as peasant food, but to our benefit has transformed into a meal of riches. All that’s needed is a bottle of wine and and some friends to share it with.