Italians are accustomed to seeing pineapple plonked on top of pizzas when they travel abroad, but they have now been confronted with a new range of abominations inflicted on their national dish. ‘’
A national food producers’ association has come up with a “gallery of horrors” – pizzas from around the world that boast outlandish, distinctly un-Italian toppings.
The crimes against Italian culinary protocol include pizzas adorned with kangaroo and crocodile meat from Australia, with zebra meat and banana from South Africa, and with tandoori yoghurt chicken from India.
Most ‘revolting’ garnished with snake
The record for the most “revolting” pizza, the association said, is Hong Kong, where it found pizza garnished with snake.
Vietnam and Thailand have come up with pizza topped with crickets and cannabis.
The Portuguese are not averse to putting flakes of baccala cod on top of their pizzas. The Dutch are fond of a hybrid of pizza and kebab. Some countries, the association reports, try to jazz up their pizzas with tomato ketchup and cheddar.
Coldiretti, the food producers’ association, brought together the pizzas in one collection to illustrate the indignities foisted upon Italy’s national pizza.
‘Enough to make Italians shudder’
“There’s no peace for authentic pizza from Italy – on the five continents you can find variants that are enough to make Italians shudder,” Coldiretti said.
The association says it is part of a wider problem – the huge quantity of imitation or “Italian-sounding” food that is produced around the world, from American “parmigiano” to Romanian “prosciutto”.
The market in imitation Italian food is now worth 120 billion euros a year, Coldiretti says.
The collection of weird pizzas, dubbed by Coldiretti the “pizzeria of horrors”, has gone on display at a food fair in Naples, the home of pizza.
In 2017, the art of pizza making in Naples was added to Unesco’s list of intangible heritage, along with grass mowing contests in Bosnia and camel racing in Oman.
Italians left aghast
The foreign experimentation with pizza toppings, which strays far from the classics such as napoletana and margherita, leaves many Italians aghast.
A survey carried out by Coldiretti and Ipsos found that a quarter of Italians will not countenance eating pizza outside Italy. More than a third say they are appalled at such exotic ingredients, considering them inedible.
“Guaranteeing the authenticity of pizza recipes and the art of preparation means defending a dish that is an integral part of our traditions,” said Ettore Prandini, the president of Coldiretti.
The value of fake or imitation Italian food around the world was now worth the “astronomical sum” of 120 billion euros, which is double the value of Italy’s food and drink exports, he said. The fake products endanger Italian jobs in the food sector and undermine Italian gastronomic excellence, he said.