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Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza?

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Does pineapple belong on pizza? It’s the culinary debate that has split friendships and caused pizza parties to descend into chaos.

As with many things in life, there’s no definitive answer. It’s all about personal preference. Some swear by it, claiming the sweet and tangy combination is a match made in heaven. Others… well, let’s just say hey’d rather eat their pizza box than have a pineapple-topped slice. So, where do I stand? As much as I respect both sides, I personally think pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza.

There, I said it! But stick with me, even if you’re on Team Pineapple. 🍍

By the end of this delicious journey, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the history of this tropical topping, the reasons people love it, and the arguments against it. So, whether you’re Team Pineapple or Team No-Pineapple, let’s slice into this debate together! 🍕

Who Invented Pineapple Pizza?

You’ve just taken a bite out of that tropical, controversial slice. As the flavors dance in your mouth, have you ever stopped to think, who on earth came up with this curious concoction? Enter the story of the origins of the pineapple pizza.

Once upon a 1962 in Ontario, Canada, Sam Panopoulos, a spirited Greek immigrant, decided to experiment in his restaurant. Drawing inspiration from Asian dishes that artfully balanced sweet and savory, he had a lightbulb moment: Why not put canned pineapple on a cheese and ham pizza? It sounds a tad wild, right? But guess what? This culinary daredevil went right ahead and did it.

To add a twist to the tale, Sam named the pizza not after its place of origin or its tropical vibe, but after the brand of canned pineapple he used. Thus, the “Hawaiian pizza” was born. A fun fact that might surprise some, considering Hawaii had absolutely nothing to do with its creation!

But as with any bold innovation, it didn’t take long for this peculiar pizza to become a hit among his customers. And like a catchy song, the trend of pineapple pizza spread across North America and eventually took the world by storm.

Yet, while many were savoring this new flavor sensation, not everyone was singing its praises. This humble fruit-topped pizza managed to ignite one of the fiercest debates in culinary history. But more on that heated debate later.

For now, hats off to Mr. Panopoulos for shaking up the pizza world with his audacious invention. Whether you love or loathe Hawaiian pizza, there’s no denying the impact it has had on pizza menus and dining tables worldwide. Now, if he had only foreseen the great pineapple debate that would ensue… 🍍 vs. 🍕

Why is Pineapple on Pizza So Controversial?

Ah, the controversy. It’s almost like asking, is pizza a sandwich? But with a twist. Pineapple on pizza: people either love it with all their heart or passionately detest it. There’s rarely an in-between. But why? It’s just a fruit on dough, after all. Well, the reasons run deeper than you might think.

First off, the sacred tradition of pizza. This iconic dish didn’t start its life with sweet toppings. Pizza has its roots in Naples, Italy, a place where culinary traditions are held in very high esteem. In Naples, the art of pizza-making isn’t just about slapping ingredients on dough; it’s a revered craft with a deep-rooted history.

Let’s dive into this a bit more.

Dough IngredientsOnly water, flour, salt, and yeast. No additives or artificial flavors.
Cooking MethodCooked in a wood-fired oven, reaching temperatures of around 800°F.
ThicknessThe center should be soft and only about 0.1 inches thick.
ToppingsClassic choices like San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil.

Who makes these rules? The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, or the True Neapolitan Pizza Association, is a community that strives to preserve the traditional methods and ingredients of Neapolitan pizza-making. According to them, pineapple as a topping isn’t just a no-go; it’s an affront to the craft.

But we live in a world of culinary experimentation. Food evolves as it travels, merging with local tastes and preferences. And while a pizza purist might cringe at the thought of pineapple on their beloved pie, others see it as a delightful blend of sweet and savory.

So, while the heart of the controversy lies in tradition, it’s amplified by personal taste. A culinary clash of the old world and the new. But whether you’re on team pineapple or firmly against it, one thing’s for sure: this debate is far from over.

Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza? The Argument For

So, you’re a fan of the classics when it comes to pizza? That’s understandable. However, let me ask you this: have you ever found joy in breaking the rules just a tiny bit? As we navigate this sweet and salty debate, let’s explore some compelling reasons to embrace the idea of pineapple on pizza.

Science Says Yes!

First off, let’s have a nerdy moment and delve into the science of food pairing. Ever wondered why wine and cheese or chocolate and strawberries taste so delightful together? The answer lies in the art and science of matching foods with shared flavor compounds.

Pineapple is not just a tropical treat; it’s loaded with bromelain, a unique enzyme that breaks down proteins. This enzyme makes meats softer and, dare we say, tastier! It’s no wonder that in many cuisines, pineapple is used in meat marinades.

Additionally, the sweet and tangy flavor profile of pineapple can offer a delicious counterbalance to the saltiness of ham or bacon and the richness of gooey cheese.

So, if you’re ever caught in the crossfire of the pineapple-pizza debate, just remember: science is on your side!

Pineapples Are Nutritious

While pizzas might be your cheat meal, why not add a dash of health to it? Pineapple is a powerhouse of nutrition, and here’s why it’s a great choice for pizza toppings:

  • Vitamin C: Boosts your immune system, ensuring you’re strong enough to debate pizza toppings!
  • Manganese: Strengthens bones, because we all need a solid foundation.
  • Fiber: Aids digestion, making sure that pizza sits well.
  • Antioxidants: Protects cells from damage, essentially an anti-aging ingredient for your cells.
  • Anti-inflammatory compounds: Helps in reducing body swelling and pain. Great after a pizza eating marathon, right?

Hawaiian Pizza is Healthier

Let’s get real. If you’re counting calories but still want to enjoy a flavorful pizza, Hawaiian might be the way to go. Don’t believe me? Let’s crunch some numbers.

ToppingCaloriesFat (g)Sodium (mg)Cholesterol (mg)
Hawaiian (Ham and Pineapple)200746015

Now, I’m not saying ditch your beloved pepperoni entirely. But if you’re watching your intake, it might be worth considering a slice of the tropics on your pizza plate.

In conclusion, while traditions are delightful, there’s also joy in innovation. Whether it’s through the lens of science, health, or sheer calorie counting, pineapple has earned its rightful place on the pizza roster.

Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza? The Argument Against

Pizzas, much like other culinary delights, are deeply entrenched in tradition. The classical definition of pizza, as it originated from Naples, Italy, usually stays clear from adventurous toppings like pineapple. While the primary argument against pineapple on pizza often revolves around its deviation from tradition (as we touched upon earlier), there are other considerations too.

Here’s a deeper dive into some of the reasons people opt to skip the tropical fruit on their pizza.

Tomatoes and Pineapples are Both Acidic

You might remember that occasional discomfort after indulging in a pizza? Some argue that the combination of tomatoes and pineapples could be the culprit behind it.

Tomatoes come in at a pH level of about 4.3, while pineapples are even more acidic with a pH level of around 3.5. The addition of pineapples could compound the acidity, potentially causing discomfort to those prone to heartburn or acid reflux.

Soggy Crust

To many pizza enthusiasts, the crust is sacred. It’s the vessel that holds together the rich tapestry of flavors. However, pineapples, due to their water content, can sometimes betray this foundation.

Pineapple is made up of approximately 86% water. When juxtaposed with the 94% water content of tomatoes, and then cooked, the moisture release can compromise the integrity of the cornicione.

Clash of Flavors

Pizza, for many, is a symphony of flavors – each ingredient playing its part in harmony. But the introduction of a strong player like pineapple can sometimes overshadow the subtleties of the ensemble.

Pineapple’s unmistakable sweet and tangy profile can sometimes eclipse the nuanced flavors of cheese, ham, and herbs.

For those who relish discerning every note in their food, the powerful chords of pineapple might drown out the other melodies.

Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza? – FAQs

Who first put pineapple on pizza?

Pineapple pizza, commonly known as Hawaiian pizza, was introduced by Sam Panopoulos, a Greek immigrant who owned a restaurant in Ontario, Canada, in 1962.

Why is pineapple pizza called “Hawaiian”?

Sam Panopoulos named the pizza “Hawaiian” after the brand of canned pineapple he used when first creating the dish.

What are the arguments in favor of pineapple on pizza?

Supporters claim that pineapple offers a sweet and sour flavor that balances out the saltiness of ham and cheese. Additionally, pineapple on pizza can be nutritionally beneficial due to its vitamin C, manganese, fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. From a culinary perspective, pineapple and ham share flavor components that pair well together.

What are the criticisms against pineapple on pizza?

Detractors argue that pineapple makes the crust soggy because of its high water content. They also point out that its strong flavor can overshadow other ingredients. Some also feel it deviates too much from traditional pizza recipes.

Does pineapple on pizza have more calories than other toppings?

Compared to toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and extra cheese, pineapple generally contains fewer calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol, making it a potentially healthier choice.

What is the science behind the flavor pairing of pineapple and ham?

The food pairing method suggests ingredients that share flavor components tend to combine well. Pineapple contains bromelain, which breaks down proteins and enhances the taste of meat, complementing the flavors of ham.

Is there a traditional Italian stance on pineapple pizza?

Pizza, as it originated in Naples, Italy, has strict traditions. While modern pizzas around the world have diversified in terms of toppings, purists argue that pineapple doesn’t belong in traditional Italian pizzas.

Do all pizzas with pineapple use ham as well?

While ham (or Canadian bacon) and pineapple is the traditional pairing for a Hawaiian pizza, many variations exist. Some pizzas might use bacon, chicken, or even jalapeños alongside pineapple for different flavor combinations.

Why do some people experience discomfort after eating pineapple pizza?

Both tomatoes and pineapples are acidic. Consuming them together might increase the acidity of the meal, which can cause discomfort like heartburn or acid reflux for some individuals.

Is the debate about pineapple on pizza just a matter of personal preference?

Ultimately, yes. Food preferences are highly subjective. While some adore the sweet and savory combo of pineapple on pizza, others staunchly oppose it. Both views are valid, and it all boils down to individual tastes.

Photo of author


Jeff is a pizza enthusiast with over 15 years of experience of working in pizzerias.