Italy, country of pizza and focaccia

Flatbread Fiesta At Foodies+

I think one of the most known Italian dish is pizza but focaccia fame is not less. 
Both have the same main ingredients: flour, yeast, water and salt that is the ingredients we can see in bread recipe too. And, then, what is the difference among bread, focaccia and pizza? Let's proceed with order and begin with their story.
Bread has very ancient origins and  +maria nasir  has already explained it to us very well.
Probably the first focaccia was simply pressed bread, leavened or unleavened. Greeks and Egyptians were in the habit of preparing focaccia. We know ancient Romans cooked and ate two types of unleavened focaccia, offa and placenta. Offa was made with emmer flour which was very common at that time. Placenta was made with wheat and eaten by the average social classes and soldiers. It was widespread all over the Roman Empire. 
Well and ... pizza? 
We find the word pizza for the first time in a document written on a lamb parchment, dated on the back:  January 31st, 1201 and now kept at the library of the diocese of Sulmona (Abruzzo - Italy).
At the beginning, pizza was supposed to be a pressed focaccia garnished with cheese and vegetables. Tomato sauce appeared in Italian cuisine only in the nineteenth century. In fact the most classic Italian pizza, well known all over the world, was created in honour of the queen Margherita, wife of the king Umberto I, when she went to the palace of Capodimonte in 1889. The best pizza maker in Naples, Raffaele Esposito, made this kind of pizza associated to the three colors of the Italian flag and dedicated it to the queen. Basil reminds green colour, mozzarella cheese white colour and tomatoes red colour.  The queen was spellbound by this pizza and Margherita became the most famous pizza in the world. This is the story of Neapolitan pizza that now has two versions, Margherita and Marinara! This is the story of Neapolitan pizza but outside Naples the things are very different and many other Italian cities claim paternity of pizza! 
The usual! talking of Italian recipes means to enter into a real quagmire! Anyway pizza is an Italian recipe, without any doubt! 
Nowadays, in Italy, we have a real babel of recipes for pizza, starting from pizza dough. We can use different kind of yeast and flour. We can follow various steps in rising time for we can use different amount of yeast. Think only of this: we can make our dough and place it in the oven immediately or wait 24 hours to have a real pizza dough!  I will explain the main recipes in the next few days but meanwhile it would be interesting to compare Italian recipes with the ones you, that live outside Italy, are used to do.   
In fact we Italians like pizza very much but this love is shared with people all over the world :))

And now two final words for focaccia. Focaccia is also known in Italy as crescenta, schiaccia, chizzuola, pizza, fogazza, torta, gastella, messinese, pinza, cofaccia ... schiacciata.
Focaccia has the same basic ingredients of pizza but very different methods for leavening, preparation and thickness. 
Someone says the real difference between focaccia and pizza is in their thickness. Round pizza can be easily folded into four because it has to be thin. On the contrary focaccia, especially if it is white that is just brushed with oil and sprinkled with salt, can be cut in half and stuffed with ham or with mozzarella and tomatoes. Perfect bites to be served as Italian snacks or appetizers to accompany aperitivo, right? a fantastic way to take care of ourselves and our guests!
We Italians love good food and wine ... too much!!!  =_^


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