With over 60,000 pizzerias operating in the country, it is no small secret that Americans love their pizza. In fact, experts estimate that the nation polishes off 350 slices of pizza per second. However, there is more to this deceivingly simple dish than meets the eye (or the palate). Join The StickerTalk as we take a bite out of pizza’s rich history!

Pizza was first enjoyed by members of the working class in Naples, Italy, sometime during the eighteenth or nineteenth century. Many of Naples’s working class lived in poverty, so cheap but filling foods were in high demand. Eventually, the citizens of Naples developed the pizza, an inexpensive dish that could be customized with a variety of delicious toppings. When Italian immigrants arrived in the United States in search of better jobs, they brought their love for pizza along with them.

Traditional Neapolitan pizzas were soon transformed by international chefs from a practical meal to haute cuisine. Today, the world’s most expensive pizza can be purchased from master-chef Renato Viola. With a price tag of $12,000, this pizza is truly an experience in fine dining. People ordering this pricy pie will receive a visit from a culinary team comprised of a world-class pizza maker, a chef, and a sommelier. The pizza itself is adorned with lobster caviar and covered in eight types of gourmet cheeses. Because this pizza is made in the customer’s own home, it is sold exclusively to residents of Italy.

Cultures across the globe have also taken some creative liberty in their topping choices. In Finland, pepperoni is replaced by another savory element: smoked reindeer. Finnish chefs were inspired to put slices of reindeer on pizza following a visit from a prominent Italian politician. The political leader, Silvio Berlusconi, made it publicly known that he was tired of being served reindeer during his official visit to Finland, so local pizzerias decided to make some culinary commentary on Berlusconi’s ingratitude. Finland, however, is not the only country known for its unusual pizza recipes. A pizzeria in Sydney recently embraced their Australian heritage by serving pizzas topped with crocodile, kangaroo, and emu meat, and pizza lovers in Sweden are known to crave pizza spread with banana curry.

Exotic pizzas are not everyone’s cup of tea, though. For competitive eaters, quantity is much more important than quality. (After all, they don’t take time to savor!) One competitive eater by the name of Kelvin Medina became famous when he set a world record by devouring a 12-inch diameter pizza in only 23.62 seconds! Joey Chestnut, another ambitious pizza lover set, a similar world record in 2008 by eating an impressive 45 slices of pizza within a ten minute time limit. Want to try to set your own pizza-related world record? Start at Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria. This Los Angeles restaurant currently holds the world record for largest pizza commercially available, a gigantic pie measuring 4.5 feet on each side and selling for $199.99.


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