Pineapple has long been considered a delicacy in Italy, where it’s often served at weddings or special occasions. But did you know that it’s also banned from being served on pizza?
Pizza was originally created in Naples, Italy, and is now eaten around the globe. In fact, it’s estimated that Italians eat over 8 million of them per day.
Pizza is a very popular food item in Italy, and it’s no surprise that it’s become a staple across the globe. While some countries allow pineapple on this dish, others don’t.
Italians and culinary tradition
The most common Italian dish is pasta, which is usually served with tomato sauce, cheese, and meat (but not meatballs, you’ll see spaghetti with meatballs only in non-italian films, never on our plates).
Pizza is another popular option, although it’s not always made with tomatoes. It’s often topped with mozzarella and mushrooms, or with olives, anchovies, artichokes, peppers, onions, ham, sausage, and eggplant (but not everything together).
The Italian version is very different from the American one, we usually use way less ingredients, in both quantity and variety, so in a typical Italian pizza you’ll find four or five ingredients, and the quantity of each ingredient is a lot less.
The history of this dish
Pizza is a dish that originated in the course of the 19th century in the Italian city of Naples. Naples is considered by most Italians the birthplace of pizza, and is still a place where this dish is almost a religion, where almost no exceptions and variations from “the original” are tolerated. Then from Naples, this dish gradually conquered the whole Italian territory, becoming a very popular dish. It’s with the migrations after the second world war that Italians took this dish with them to the rest of the world, making it a global phenomenon.
Do Italians really hate pineapple pizza?
Italians are generally very conservative with pizza, so the vast majority of us hate pineapple on it as it’s not the original, this dish has in our mind a savoury flavour, it’s not a dessert. Italians eat pineapple with other fruit, so putting pineapple over pizza is like putting it into an hamburger, it’s against our concept of this dish. The Italian chef Massimo Bottura says that you can’t argue with an Italian about 3 things: Football, his grandmother’s cuisine, and the pope. I agree at least with the first two. I’m not a football fan, but most Italian are, and all pretend to be the best football coach. And Italians are strongly bonded to the traditional cuisine, so many of us refuse to accept innovation, variations and contaminations from other parts of the world.
Is pineapple on pizza illegal in Italy?
Pineapple on pizza is not officially illegal in Italy, you’ll probably not find it on the menu, but you can sit in an Italian restaurant and try to order it. The most likely answer would be “we don’t serve it” as it’s not an acceptable pizza topping for an Italian pizza chef.
Some of us use to say “this is illegal” even on things that are obviously not illegal, but you should not do. You can ear “it’s illegal to serve cappuccino after 1 p.m.” or “it’s illegal to schedule a meeting on Friday at 6:30 p.m.”. Both of these things are not officially illegal, but simply the person speaking consider them unacceptable.
Do Italians put pineapple on pizza?
In Italy there’s no debate, pineapple on pizza is considered almost a barbaric practice, something that defeats our culinary dignity. Classic Hawaiian pizza (as it’s known in most of the world) is Hawaiian, not Italian, and never argue with an Italian about old time classic dishes like this.
Also this dish is usually prepared with canned pineapple, and it’s not something we use normally, so it’s reasonable that even a restaurant doesn’t have them.
So Italians generally don’t take part in the debate about pineapple-topped pizza, this controversial pizza is simply not on our menu!