Pizza has become a favourite meal around the world, one that has been popular for decades. Australians love to go to an Italian restaurant with family and friends, choose several different varieties laden with all sorts of toppings and then share slices around the table. And they usually eat it with a knife and fork.
The method of eating pizza in Rome is very different. You may like to try the traditional approach and see how you enjoy it. It will certainly make you feel like a local.
Pizzerias can be found everywhere in Italy, including the eternal city of Rome. That sign above a restaurant indicates the presence of a pizza oven, a necessity for any true Roman pizza. No local would consider eating a pizza anywhere else.
- Time of Day
Italians traditionally eat their main meal in the middle of the day, and enjoy a light meal in the evening. That is how they regard a pizza – a light snack to be eaten at night. They will go out with friends after eight o’clock to enjoy one of their favourite treats, very much a social occasion. That is when most of the tourists have already eaten and departed. Pizzerias will then be filled with locals.
To cook a pizza to perfection, the wood-fired pizza oven needs to reach a temperature of four hundred and eighty-five degrees farenheit. It takes several hours to heat up, and most pizzerias will time the process so that it is the perfect temperature at eight o’clock – ready for the locals to arrive. No Roman would want to eat pizza that was not cooked at the right temperature – so they won’t visit a pizzeria before that time.
- Choosing a Pizza
Every Pizzeria will have a long list of varieties on the menu. But Romans generally choose only one type, and eat one pizza each with no sharing around the table. Their preferred choice will be a Pizza Margherita, a thin crust pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. It is very simple but delicious.
In Australia and America, we often enjoy pizza covered in a range of toppings, especially meat. When visiting Rome, why not try the more traditional flavour of a Pizza Margherita?
- How to Eat
There is only one method for a Roman to eat their pizza. The waiter will give each customer a small pair of scissors or pizza cutter. First, they cut it into quarters, then pick up a slice in their hands, fold it if they want to, and eat it with a great deal of passion.
What do you think? Would you be prepared to try eating pizza the Roman way? Remember – go to a pizzeria after eight o’clock, order a Pizza Margherita and eat it in your hands.
In my thriller The Magus Covenant, Jotham Fletcher takes Antonella to a pizzeria and enjoys learning the secrets of eating pizza in Rome. That is, until he realises that at least one man is watching him.
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