The classic Italian dish of pizza is known all around the world, and a ubiquitous staple of both fast food restaurants and higher-end restaurants. Originating in Italy, the term pizza first came into common usage around 1000 AD, when Italy was still part of the Byzantine Empire. Although dishes very similar to pizza have been eaten since the Neolithic age, the pizzas of today would be almost unrecognisable to how they would have been traditionally prepared.
Today, the archetypical pizza consists of a flat base of leavened dough, which is topped with tomatoes, typically pureed, and cheese. Although additional toppings have been added over the years, in many parts of Italy, the only type of pizza considered to be “true” pizza, is the Margherita style.
Over the years many pizza restaurants have sought to add more toppings, with meat being one of the first choices. Anchovies were one of the first documented toppings added to a pizza, other than cheese and tomato, and have remained a staple of many a pizza ever since, although their popularity has waned. Today the most common meat pizza topping is pepperoni, a type of cured meat.