While it is certainly the default pizza topping in the United States, pepperoni may also be the perfect pizza topping. Pepperoni is a very popular topping and for good reason. It’s meaty, spicy, a little sour, and chewy all at the same time! With a flavor profile specifically designed to appeal to Americans, it should come as no surprise that the popular topping was invented in the US despite the Italian-esque name.
The first documented mention of pepperoni occurred in 1919. Not a surprise this mention came from New York City. We can thank the influx of Italian immigrants flowing into the United States in the early 20th century for the flavors that pepperoni delivers. These immigrants began to combine Southern European flavors and traditions with American ingredients. The word pepperoni translates to “big peppers” in Italian. This makes a lot of sense because early American pepperonis included ingredients like bell peppers.
Pepperoni does differ from traditional Italian cured meats. To start, pepperoni uses an artificial casing, where traditional Italian meats use a natural gut casing. Pepperoni also contains a much finer grain and is considerably softer than salamis.
So how is it that pepperoni tops more than a third of all pizzas sold in the United States? Besides the fact that every pizza advertisement on tv, every artist’s rendering, and even the pizza emoji 🍕 has pepperoni placed front and center, pepperoni became popular quickly thanks to the flavor appeal to young people. Kids in the New York City area went crazy for the crisp-edged dried sausage that combined a mix of pork, beef, and spices — especially peppers, hence the namesake.
Starting as a deli meat, pepperoni was easy to find on cheese boards and grilled sandwiches. While no one knows who made the first pepperoni pizza, it doesn’t seem too far of a stretch to think that the idea originated on Mulberry Street or Bleecker Street in Lower Manhattan. Imagine seeing pepperoni pop up on cheese trays all over the place and enjoying the flavor combinations it creates with different types of cheeses and in sandwiches. Pizza is a new hot topic item in the boroughs of New York and with the young people being quickly drawn to pepperoni, it makes sense that the combination happened quickly.
At Ultimate California Pizza we are just as obsessed with pepperoni as anyone else could be. Pepperoni is featured on several of our Gnarly Creations and is even the focal point of one of our Cali Classics. Our Ultimate Pepperoni Pizza is blanketed in Pepperoni to provide an amazing flavor combination when combined with our smooth mozzarella and Ultimate Red Sauce.
But while pepperoni can certainly stand on its own, it adds just as much to other ingredients. Take Hollywood for example. While bacon, ground beef, Italian sausage, and pork sausage create a unique profile, the addition of pepperoni is what makes it all work together.
So the next time you order a pizza, don’t think “oh it’s just pepperoni”. Instead, take a step back, and think about how much enjoyment your taste buds get to experience! For more creative pizza options, check out our innovative menu at www.ultimatecaliforniapizza.com and consider ordering online at https://orderonline.ultimatecaliforniapizza.com/ucp