Fruit and pizza toppings, a brief history
Traditionalists turn away now, I want to consider for a moment the beauty – or otherwise – of the Hawaiian pizza, the most obvious example of fruit being used as pizza toppings.
Just how did the Hawaiian come to be born? Who came up with idea of fruit as a pizza topping and exactly why is it called a Hawaiian?
Far from being some kind of Island of Dr Moreaux-style combination of this most beautiful of dishes with a love of fruit somewhere on the North Shore, the history of the Hawaiian pizza – the Godfather of fruit in pizza toppings, if not the most outrageous topping combo suggested – is rather more mundane and takes us, surprisingly to Canada.
Although it is impossible to accurately evaluate the veracity of the claim, it is widely acknowledged that the Hawaiian pizza, the great leap into the world of fruit in pizza toppings, came out of the Satellite restaurant owned by brothers Sam and Nick Panopoulos in 1962.
Pineapple, the fruit pioneer among pizza toppings
Some 50 years or more ago, in downtown Chatham, Ontario, Sam hit upon the idea of adding ham and, crucially, pineapple to a pizza – fruit had made its first, most memorable appearance among the pizza toppings canon.
If proof were needed of the truth of this most glorious boast, the Panopoulos brothers tried to cash in on the instant – and unprecedented – success by launching the Hawaiian burger in their eating house – an innovation which, thus far, has had significantly less of an impact on world cuisine.
But we should be thankful for the contribution of the Panopoulos brothers because the nation where the Hawaiian pizza has been taken most closely to the hearts of the people – is Australia, where it accounts for some 15 per cent of all pizza sales.