In just two short weeks, we’ll be making the trek up to Atlantic City, NJ to exhibit at Pizza & Pasta NE. It’s the perfect opportunity to show off our revolutionary wine dispensing. What pairs better with pizza/pasta than wine?
With the show fast approaching, we’ve had pizza on the brain. Let’s dive into the history of this lovely dish and the best ways to enjoy your favorite slice with a glass of vino.
PIZZA THROUGH THE AGES
Food Reference tells us that flatbreads have been around for over 6,000 years but the word “pizziare” begins appearing around 1000 B.C. The exact origins of pizza are still up for debate but most agree that it was developed in Naples, Italy. In the beginning, pizza was peasant food because it was easy to make with cheap ingredients. In fact, when tomatoes were first discovered, they were thought to be poisonous. Peasants overcame this doubt and started adding the “devil’s fruit” to their flatbreads. According to UNICO National, the first real pizza restaurant opened in 1830.
Both tomatoes and mozzarella cheese grew in popularity throughout the 18th century but they didn’t come together on pizza until around 1889. Legend has it that in 1889, a man named Raffaele Esposito honored the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita to Naples with a special pizza that resembled the Italian Flag – white mozzarella, red tomato sauce, and green basil. “This patriotic pizza was an instant success with the King and Queen, as well as Raffele’s other patrons. He named the pizza in honor of the Queen.” (UNICO) Hence, Margherita pizza was born.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, immigrants from Europe (including those from Naples) came to the United States looking for factory jobs. They brought their culinary traditions with them. According to History, “The first documented United States pizzeria was G. Lombardi’s on Spring Street in Manhattan, licensed to sell pizza in 1905. (Prior to that, the dish was homemade or purveyed by unlicensed vendors.)” Following World War II, pizza’s image shifted from “foreign” to “fast food” and various regions formed their own varieties, breaking from the Neopolitan standard.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Now Chicago has its deep dish, California has its gourmet toppings, and Detroit has its squared slices.
PIZZA AND WINE PAIRING
Personally, we feel you can’t go wrong with pizza and wine. But, there are some duets that sing more harmoniously than others. Here are some guidelines:
Red or White?
Typically, pizza pairs best with a red wine. The dough, the sauce, and the toppings add up to a substantial dish that reds hold their ground against. That being said, a fuller-bodied white or something sparkling can be lovely.
What about acidity?
What are the main ingredients in pizza? Rich, fatty, melted cheese and acidic tomatoes. To cut the cheese fat and compete with the acidic tomatoes, you need a medium-high to high acidity wine. But, skip those high in tannin or you could end up with a more metallic flavor. Look for something with juicy fruit flavors or some earthiness.
When in doubt, look to the motherland
Pizza and wine both originated from Italy and Italian wines tend to have higher acidity. If you don’t know where to turn, try something from Italy. They produce some of the best wines in the world and offer a huge variety, which makes it easy to find something red in the high-acidity, moderate tannin category.
If you’re looking for some specific recommendations, check out this list from The Kitchn.
Pizza & Pasta NE 2017
As we mentioned earlier, we’ll be heading up to vibrant Atlantic City next week for Pizza & Pasta NE. The show runs October 17th and 18th at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
Do you work in a pizza or pasta joint? Interested in joining us? This year, as exhibiting partners, we’re able to bring along a few guests. Just fill out the form below and we’ll send you all of the details. Our numbers are limited so if you’d like to come along, don’t hesitate. If you’re already set to attend, drop us a line because we’d love to meet you there! Don’t forget to stop by booth #520 for a demo and a glass of wine. Ciao, bella!