European Cooking – Italian vs. New York Style Pizza


PizzaPizza like many other foods originally comes from Italy. Here in New York we have given it our unique term “New York Style Pizza” but is our common pizza really Italian? European Cooking, especially Italian has a very traditional and distinct taste because of the herbs and spices they use.

So when we hear New York Style being thrown around in the pizza community, we wonder what it really means. Is there much of a difference or are they difference cultural terms for essentially the same thing? That is the question that we will look at in this article.

Most people think that the best pizza must come from Italy. After all, Italy is the father of pizza. But not many people really know what original Italian pizza is really like. If you were to see an actual Italian pizza, you may not even recognize it as such. It may be round shape but not necessarily, and it might have a  cheese covering, but not much more than that would be familiar to you.

If you are a meat loving pizza carnivore, it may come as a shock to you that pizza is made without pepperoni, and not even sausage.

Gourmet pizza in Italy values more its mozzarella cheese and fancy spices, such as oregano and rosemary sprigs. However, you may find anchovies to satisfy your meat cravings. And since olive oils is a staple ingredient in all Italian cooking, and one of the favourite ingredients for all kinds of dishes, whatever Italian pizza you choose, you can bank on the fact that it will have olive oil on it somewhere.

Going over to the other extreme of the pizza world, from the elegant and timeless bakeries of Italy, to the New York style pizza, we find that one of the characteristic signs of a New York pizza is the raised crust and thin centre. Like the Italians, New Yorkers also love their mozzarella cheese, but they prefer less tomato sauce, sometimes nearly taking it out altogether. The crust is usually so thin that true New Yorkers fold it in half to make it easier to carry and eat.

One shocking ingredient in a New York pizza that makes many of us question the sanity of New Yorkers even more (if that is possible) is New York city tap water used to make the dough. Apparently, it is not the same if they cannot taste the unique flavour of the water in the Big Apple. Believe it or not, many restaurants around the country actually import NYC tap water to make their dough in the most authentic New York way possible. (No wonder the rest of the world thinks America is crazy.) You might want to check out this book: New York Pizza. It is worth every cent if you want genuine New York Pizza.

Both styles have great characteristics. Italian pizza brings a classy and timeless flair, but is more focused on cheese than meat. It is unique and original which has made it so popular as the pizza idea is taken around the world.

The New York style pizza, on the other hand, has also got a special style with thin a crust and little sauce. And apparently New Yorkers feel that for the pizza to taste the best, the crust must be made from NYC tap water.


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By Joe Conde