Hawaiian Pizza: Story Of The Controversial ‘Pineapple Pizza’

I love pineapples, I love my pizza, and guess what, I am not averse to the idea of pineapple on my pizza too. I mean what’s not to like, baked pineapples caramelise and blend with the cheese and peppers, bringing together a harmony of sweet and savoury flavours. Unfortunately, though this is one pizza topping that has perhaps divided the entire world in two.  

The makers of modern pizza, Italy, call it ‘blasphemy’. But pizza is so cosmopolitan in nature, that variants of the same can be found everywhere. The U.S. alone is credited to be the birthplace of so many kinds of pizzas such as Detroit pizza, Chicago deep-dish pizza and more. Canada also can be dubbed as the proud/not-so-proud native place of the much controversial Hawaiian Pizza. Yes, the same pizza with the pineapple topping.  

As it happens, a Greek-born Canadian named Sam Panopoulos, created the first-ever Hawaiian pizza at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, Canada in 1962. It is said that he was partially inspired by his experience as a chef in Chinese restaurants, where it was common to use sweet and savoury ingredients So he started adding pineapple, ham, bacon, and other toppings to his pizzas. It was initially frowned upon, but it picked up slowly.

Adding pineapples with the traditional mix of tomato sauce, cheese, ham, and peppers was something unheard of, but it slowly emerged to be a local sensation. Eventually, in the coming years, it became a common fixture in pizzerias across the globe. But if the pizza was conceived in Canada and not Hawaii, then why the name?

The pizza is not directly inspired by the united, state of Hawaii. It is said Panopoulos chose the name Hawaiian after the brand of canned pineapple he chose to use on his pizzas at the time.

Now of course Hawaiian pizza has been reimagined in many ways around the globe. In Germany, it is essentially a ham, pineapple, and cheese-topped Toast. Whereas in the US, many restaurants use barbecue sauce and pulled pork with pineapple and cheese as opposed to the traditional tomato sauce and bacon topping.  Here is a delish Hawaiian pizza you can try yourself.