From Amicci’s Hamtramck and Detroit Stores to the World: A Delicious Journey

June 27th, 2021

Food has traveled the world in the hands of traders and explorers since the beginning of culture. Grains and nuts were bartered along with precious stones and fabrics. Colonialism and wars introduced many conquerors to new ingredients that were rapidly incorporated into their nations’s cuisines. Coffee, tea, chocolate and spices, were once a novelty that contributed to the spread of global empires and were extremely valuable for their unique flavors. Potato, tomato, chili, sugar and soybeans are great examples of ingredients that won over world’s palates to quickly become commodities thanks to their extraordinary versatility. From cave dwellers to the times when agriculture was invented and further on, a huge percentage of human developments were related to food. Immigrants have historically carried their traditional food culture with them, travelers bring home the flavors they encountered along their trips. Human beings discover the world through their taste buds. Competition between neighboring countries goes beyond politics and extends towards arguments over the origin of traditional dishes. This article will take you from Amicci’s Hamtramck and Detroit pizzerias to mouth watering destinations, following the pizza trail.

Thus the exponential phenomenon of globalization is intrinsically connected to the food industry. Pizza is not exempted from this international exchange. Moreover, the journey of this famous flattened dough topped with a variety of ingredients is broad. Pizza has toured every continent and comfortably settled in each nation where it set foot. Since pizza is easy to make and can feed large groups with few resources, it is a very accessible dish. Its convenience allows for curious cooks to experiment with toppings over the adaptable flatbread, based on the availability of local ingredients and familiar flavors.

The original pizza recipe contained only tomato sauce, basil and cheese, representing the three colors of the Italian flag. Even within Italy, birthplace of such an international sensation, there are regional variations to this dish. Naples is home of the most traditional version of pizza, displaying the patriotic red, green and white ingredients over a thin, soft crust cut into wedges. Rome’s alternative is called pizza bianca, meaning white pizza. A thin, crispy crust is topped with olive oil, garlic and cheese, and sometimes includes anchovies and fresh herbs, and even ricotta. A legend tells that Marco Polo, when returning from China, asked several Italian cooks to prepare cong you bing, a very popular dish in Chinese cuisine. This story suggests that the spring onion pancakes could be the ancestors of the traditional Italian pies, granting Marco Polo with the idea of putting the ingredients on top instead of stuffing them into the pancake. Apparently, the Neapolitan chef under his orders decided to add the cheese, thus creating the celebrated pizza. Although a more accepted theory links the Chinese unleavened breads with the Indian paratha, a typical flat bread native to the north of India on the other side of the border. In India, nowadays, there is a version of pizza that combines the all-round crust with a Tandoori chicken topping made by marinating chicken in a spicy and savory yogurt sauce and cooking it in a special clay oven called tandoor. Tandoori chicken, in turn, is a very popular Indian dish that has traveled the world and is found in any Indian restaurant in America.

The French have a reputation of adding a special twist to any dish. Living up to their fame, they have turned the popular comfort food into tarte flambee, which consists of thin, yeast-raised dough covered with soft, creamy sweet cheese, caramelized onions and pork fat. The Germans, on their side of the Alsace region, have their own version with raw onions and bacon that melt in the oven and moisturize the ingredients with a rustic result. A famous Polish street food called zapiekanka substitutes dough with french bread, but is in the toppings that one finds the resemblance with the familiar pizzas: cheese, mushroom and tomato sauce are the most common ingredients, and there is even a Hawaiian-style alternative including pineapple, an American favorite. The Greek have their own version of this Polish dish, using olives and feta cheese as toppings. Sweden, on the other hand, has its own version of fruit topped pizza: the banana curry pizza that combines slices of banana with ham, curry powder and cheese.

Our Canadian neighbors share the American taste for dense, hearty pizzas and take it to a whole new level with their Regina-style pies. A thick, biscuit dough base is topped with a mountain of ingredients up to three inches high, blanketed by cheese. Along these generous lines we find the Argentinean fugazzeta, a thick bread dough topped with up to two pounds of mozzarella cheese and sweet onions. Tomato sauce, for many an essential pizza ingredient, is removed in this cheesy South American version. Speaking of removing traditional ingredients, the lamacun is a Turkish type of cheese-less pizza. A thin and crispy bread is topped with minced meat, vegetables and herbs. Mixing a variety of meats over a delicious dough is a great part of our American culture. However, instead of chicken, ham or bacon, many countries prefer to experiment with seafood. Russian popular mockba pizza, named after their capital, combines sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon mixed with onions and other garnishes, and served cold. Japan’s unique cuisine includes a curious squid pizza, Germany tops them with canned tuna and Australians prefer shrimp.

While many travelers seek out the flavors they discovered overseas when they come back to their hometowns, others who have never crossed the borders of their own country get a sense of the world’s zest by trying different dishes in the neighborhood’s restaurants. Lucky for you, Amicci’s Hamtramck and Detroit menus offer a great diversity of pizza toppings. You need not go far to stimulate your palate with a variety of flavors. Our pizza Hamtramck and Detroit will take you on a journey of the senses, beyond the frontiers of America and the world. We look forward to seeing you in our Amicci’s Hamtramck and Detroit venues!