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From Italy to Your Pizza Shop: Types of Pizza Around the World

Imagine a single bite so powerful it’s had people near and far wrapped around its saucy fingers for centuries. Seriously, did Eminem know about pizza when he rapped about his mom’s spaghetti? Much like its shape – the world is round. Coincidence? Get in, we’re taking you around the globe to dish on different kinds of pizza and bite into its origins. No leftovers this time, though, because this is the hero’s journey that ends at your favorite local NYC pizza shop.

A Tale of the Origins of Pizza

Pizza? Pie? Mamma mia! Many have claimed to call dibz, but to keep it cheesy, with optimal crust action, pizza’s ye olde. Raffaele Esposito – regarded as the father of the modern pizza – entered center stage in 1889 with a doughy delight so famous that Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita (sound familiar?) wanted to try it. Yes, foodies existed back then too. Their eyes went all heart-shaped at the sight of this humble bread base topped with white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil. Wait, was Meghan Trainor right all along? Is it all about that base?

Others say that street vendors in Naples had been creating flatbreads with toppings to sell in open-air markets since the early 1800s. The Neapolitan flatbread was made using tomato sauce and garlic on a bread base, often mentioned in the same garlicky breath as the ‘Pomodoro e Mozzarella.’

The mouthwatering pizza gospel would, however, not be shared (or go viral, as the kids say) outside of Naples until the 1940s, after World War II. Soon, pizza became somewhat of an international celeb with many offspring. It’s Italian heritage – melting all over pizza menus everywhere.

The Rise of New England Greek-Style Pizza

The New England Greek-style pizza embraces the pie’s reputation as a basic, inexpensive way of feeding families. Back then, Greek immigrants who settled in the New England area were the OGs of most pizzerias in Connecticut.

A hand-stretched, no-knead, olive oil-rich dough is baked in a well-oiled pan; the crunchy, focaccia-like base offers an array of meat and Mediterranean vegetable toppings a moment to shine, but not without first layering it with a concentrated, tangy tomato sauce (oh, hello tomato paste) spiked with oregano. Oh, and then there’s the copious amounts of draping mozzarella – and even white cheddar, feta cheese, and provolone.

The simple toppings and Greek-infused herbs and spices keep it real, an uncomplicated celebration of signature Greek flavors.

We Want ‘Coca’ Por Favor – The Spanish Flatbread Pizza

Arriba Coca – a vehicle for the bueno tastes of Spain! With a lighter dough, the thin, crispy crust can be reminiscent of NY-style pizza, but that’s kind of where the similarities stop. The traditional recipe includes caramelized onions and chorizo that’s bound to put an hola in your step. You’ll also find other Spanish classics in the crowd, like fresh veggies, anchovies, sardines, and olives.

Word on the pizza block is that the coca is lactose intolerant, but even though cheese is not usually invited to this fiesta, manchego or goat cheese has been spotted on some Spanish pizzas here and there. Often without sauce, too, you might wonder why some even dare call it a pizza, but this is the beauty of the pie – flaunting its shape-shifting superpowers. And the coca? Well, it’s not just any ole place filler on a pizza menu, challenging you to explore outside of your crusty borders.

Mediterranean Pizza – A Different Take on Pie

Further East, there are more Mediterranean odes to the pie. There are a few honorable mentions, so you might want to take a look at the pizza shop menu at Made In New York Pizza to feast on, too – information can make you hungry, after all. At this table sits earthier flavors, like the lahmacun, a thin rolled-out sheet of dough often topped with ground lamb, tomato, and a blend of spices like paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

Did you know that the Lebanese have found a way to legitimately enjoy pizza for breakfast? Guilt-free. Meet the manakish. It’s said that this aromatic and savory dish rose to popularity in communal ovens. Small portions of flattened dough were made to bake quickly each morning, featuring za’atar, a blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt mixed with olive oil.

Near and far, Mediterranean pizza captures the convenient appeal of pizza. Better yet, it keeps on evolving, but always with the same premise: an affordable way for the whole family to indulge using what’s available.

A Taste of NYC – One Bite Is All It Takes

Back in the city that never sleeps, the birth of the classic NYC-style pizza, a long-foretold prophecy would eventually come true – securing its legacy as America’s slice of life. In NYC pizza, everyone crusts, night and day. Just call it your wingman, aka our famed Buffalo Chicken. Your X marks the spot, just like our pepperoni pie. Did you see that? There are even classic, meat-free options for the part-time vegetarian in you. It’s not just a local pizza shop.

Forget soulmates, you have a slice of NYC-style pizza in your hands.