6 Fascinating Facts About Pizza

1. Pizza Is a Relatively New Food

People tend to think of pizza as a classic Italian dish, but it has only been around since the 1800s. Prior to this, several cultures served flatbread topped with various ingredients, but it was not until 1889 that the first pizza topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil was made. This first pizza was prepared for King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy on their visit to Naples. And thus, the Margherita pizza was born.

2. The Average American Eats 6,000 Slices in a Lifetime

If there's one statistic that speaks to the popularity of pizza in America, this is it. One in 10 people eats three slices of pizza a week! Those are the true pizza lovers. How close are you to your 6,000-slice lifetime goal? Keep in mind that 6,000 is the average, which means plenty of people eat more than that.

3. September 5th Is National Cheese Pizza Day

If you're tired of your friends making fun of you for ordering pizza topped only with cheese, remind them that there is a national holiday just for people like you. As long as quality cheese is used, a simple cheese pizza can be supremely satisfying. Celebrate by ordering a whole cheesy pie just for yourself.

4. The World's Largest Pizza Was Created in Rome

Prior to 2012, the record for World's Largest Pizza was held by Norwood Hypermarket in South Africa. In 2012, a group of chefs from NIPfood in Rome, Italy broke the record with a massive pizza with a surface area of 13,580.28 square feet. They even named the pizza Ottavia after the Octavian Augustus, a Roman emperor.

Almost 20,000 pounds of flour and 10,000 pounds of mozzarella cheese went into Ottavia's production. Amazingly, the pizza was 100 percent gluten-free!

5. There's an International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas

This is probably the largest gathering of pizza lovers in the world. Held annually, the International Pizza Expo takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and welcomes more than 500 exhibitors and 1,400 booths. probably the most-attended gathering for pizza professionals.

The event is not open to the public but rather attended by pizza restaurant owners, ingredient distributors, marketing specialists, and others in the pizza industry. The expo in 2018 will be the 34th annual event.

6. About 65 Percent of Pizzerias Are Independently Owned

Pizza chains seem to be getting more and more popular, but there is still room for the little guys. Independent Italian restaurants still make up more than half of the pizzerias in the U.S. Nothing beats the personalized touches in an independently owned restaurant.

When the owners and employees are truly passionate about their food, it shows in the quality and in the dining experience. Customers appreciate this passion, which is why independent pizzerias are still thriving in the United States.