National Pizza Day
Origins and Wines to match
The modern Pizza has its origins in Naples in the 18th or 19th Century. Flat bread being the base is also a prime source of food for many nations throughout both the ancient and modern world.
The Port of Naples to the South of Italy could also be the link between the Middle Eastern countries and Italy, a sort of east meet west in culinary terms?
It is debatable who placed the first ingredients to the top of the flat bread but ancient history points a finger at the Roman armies who might have placed simple vegetables and maybe a crumble of hard cheese to the top?
The tomato arrived in Italy around 1550 via the Spanish who plundered it from their forays into South America. This was a major moment as this adopted fruit soon became the basis of Italian cuisine to this day.
Around the 18th century the Calzone started to appear in and around Naples and has survived to this day offered with different fillings in the crescent –shaped (folded over) variation of the flat bread.
Back to modern Italy and Naples – simple flat breads became known as Pizza and inventiveness started to take over with the addition of roasted Mediterranean vegetables, herbs, salami, chesses and seasonings became the norm all over Southern Italy.
Street vendors started to pop up selling either in their entire or slices of Pizza at markets and fetes. By the mid 20th century it had become a way of life for everyone with smart Pizzeria’s sprouting up throughout Italy.
Its transformation from a simple often on-the-hoof dish to a major world player started after World War 2 when liberating troops from America (and other counties) took the Pizza idea back to their homeland and created their own versions of the simple classic styles of Naples.
I remember my first Pizza Pie (as it was listed on the menu) was in a West End Trattoria just off Wardour Street, Soho. I felt rather grown up and liberated eating a slice of tasty Pizza walking through Soho on my way to the Marquee Club!
Same a number of years later in New York as the tempting whiff of freshly baked Pizza simply hit the spot and I indulged!
So what to drink with this extraordinary creation? Why Italian Wines (where possible) of course! Simple, tasty Bianco’s come to mind with traditional styles from in and around the Neapolitan region like, Fiano, Greco di Tuffo, and Falanghina . These lovely whites are just the ticket and a great match to Pizza.
This will give the Wine Hunter an ample opportunity to search out for this style of Bianco at Independent Wine Shops and Supermarkets.
Give a try to…..
Duca di Sasseta Fiano Appassite 2020
£7.49 Puglia - Lidl
The excellent Fiano grape is a great Southern Italian grape/wine. This sample is created by leaving some of the grapes on the vine to concentrate their flavours (Appassite) before joining the rest of the harvest creating a concentrated off-dry Bianco with delicious ripe pear fruit notes.
Malvasia Frizzante Colli Piacentini Secco
Emila Romagna £7.49 - Lidl
Gentle fizz from an ancient grape variety. Expect a herbal scented, stone fruit note. An easy-going glugger!
From Wickham Wine based in Newton Abbot – www.wickhamwine.co.uk – comes Casali del Barone – Barbera 2019 £11.95 – the northern Italian vineyards are laden with many different styles of Rosso grapes able to create a myriad of flavours. Expect a delicate, perfumed Barbera red with a medium body making it a firm favourite with tomato/salami-topped Pizza.
Baglio Gibellini Frappato 2020 – £9.99 - Hailing from Sicily this light Rosso is slugged by many Italians as a light (Clairette) red-fruited stylistic casual wine. It can also take a light chill if wished. Perfect with street and casual food.
To purchase from Wickham Wines portfolio visit their website (see above) for ‘how to order’
Enjoy your Pizza!
Stephen Barrett is a Wine and Food Writer based in Plymouth Stephen welcomes correspondence via his website www.stephenbarrett.com Facebook and LinkedIn as Stephen Barrett, Twitter and Instagram as @bistrowineman