Pizza — it’s nostalgic, it’s delicious and it has the ability to evoke passionate opinions on what belongs and doesn’t belong on the doughy base. Don’t worry, we aren’t getting into the pineapple debate (you can take that up with Canada, where it was created). We are, however, slicing up the essential styles and taking a bite to fi nd out what makes them unique.
Known for: Being the true original
Crust: Thin with raised edges, slightly charred
Certified toppings*: Lightly topped with San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio tomatoes, olive oil and slices of buffalo mozzarella
*The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) was founded to protect the traditions and methods of true Neapolitan pizza as outlined in the 13 pages of the International Regulations, including the specific regional toppings that can be used. The art of making Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’ is UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.
Known for: Being locally called apizza (pronounced as “ah-beetz”)
Crust: Thin and crunchy
Traditional toppings: Simple tomato sauce and a little bit of pecorino romano cheese. Mozzarella is considered an extra topping, so don’t forget to ask for it
Fan Favorite: White clam pizza — grated cheese, garlic, oregano, olive oil and clams
Known for: Being baked in a rectangular steel pan, resulting in a caramelized cheese-edged crust
Crust: Crispy exterior with a light and fluffy interior
Traditional toppings: Thick tomato sauce, Wisconsin brick cheese and pepperoni that go all the way to the edge.
This style didn’t become nationally popular until 2012 when creator, Shawn Randazzo, won Champion Pizza Maker of the Year at the International Pizza Expo.
Known for: A focus on adventurous, flavorful and fresh ingredients
Traditional toppings: Various combinations of fresh produce, meats, cheese, smoked salmon, eggs…. you get the idea.
Known for: Square slices loaded with flavors and toppings
Crust: Made with unleavened dough for an ultra-thin, crispy base
Traditional toppings: Processed Provel cheese layered on top of a sweet tomato sauce packed with oregano and all the toppings you want
Chicago Deep Dish
Known for: Toppings that are layered in reverse to avoid burnt cheese
Crust: Baked in an oiled, high-sided pan, the 2-3 inch thick crust has a fried-like texture
Traditional toppings: Cheese, sausage, onion, mushrooms, bell peppers, all covered in chunky tomato sauce with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top
Known for: Having lots of rich and herby sauce
Crust: Thick with an airy interior and crunchy base or round similar to Neapolitan style
Traditional toppings: Herbs, onion, strong cheese, anchovies and tomato sauce on top to prevent a soggy crust
Known for: Perfect, foldable slices
Crust: Thin with a chewy center and crispy edges
Traditional toppings:A little bit of sauce that doesn’t hold back on flavor and lots of grated mozzarella
Though we may all have a different opinion on which style is best, with Americans ordering up some three billion pizzas each year, we can all agree that dough + sauce + cheese equals a pretty great combination.