CELEBRATING CANADA DAY!
It seems there’s no pizza topping quite as polarizing as pineapple. While some pizza lovers might crave that sweet, sour & salty combination of fruit combined with melted cheese, others not so much.
Hawaiian pizza, which usually comes topped with canned pineapple and ham, doesn’t come from Italy, the birthplace of pizza, nor does it come from Hawaii, a pineapple paradise. Rather surprisingly, the country responsible for the odd combination of ingredients is Canada. The pizza was actually created in 1962 by a Greek immigrant called Sam Panopoulos.
Along with his brothers, Sam Panopoulos, owned a restaurant in Ontario, Canada. The food was initially very simple … traditional diner food such as pancakes and burgers. Inspired by a recent trip to Naples, Panopoulos decided to introduce pizza to the menu.
It was a relatively new idea in North America as most pizzas, at that time, were served topped with mushrooms, bacon and pepperoni. Panopoulos became more adventurous, introducing Americanized versions of Chinese meals such as sweet and sour chicken, which includes pineapple so he decided to take a risk with his pizzas as well.
He added canned pineapple to one pizza, with ham, not knowing whether it would be a hit or not. Soon , the combination of sweet and savory was proving a winner with his customers.
At the same time, there was a growing fascination with Tiki culture. Hawaii had officially became an American state in 1959 and people had fallen in love with the island lifestyle. Canned pineapple began to be imported into North America, along with pineapple juice. The brand of tinned pineapple Panopoulos used in his pizzas was called Hawaiian, so his creation became known as ‘Hawaiian Pizza’.
From its humble Canadian beginnings, the combination spread across North America and ultimately the world … but despite its global appeal, pineapple pizza has remained controversial. Today, Brion & I are having a version of this Canadian Pizza on naan bread. Yum!