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Pazza For Pizza

Learn Italian While Eating Pizza


If learning Italian were as common as ordering a pizza, then the Italian language would have the largest number of speakers in the world. In the U.S., as well as in many other countries, pizza is the number one most popular food. Whether it's a classic margherita or marinara pizza in Italy, a vegetarian with Japanese eggplant pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, or a strawberry pecan dessert pizza, there's a pizza for every taste, and a pizza for every market segment. In fact, pizza is so popular nowadays that there are even pizza tours to Italy.

La Vera Pizza Napoletana
Of course, there’s no better place to enjoy pizza than Naples, home of "la vera pizza napoletana" (the real Neapolitan pizza). It's difficult to resist the warm, enticing aroma of a perfect pizza with a crisp crust topped with creamy mozzarella and juicy tomatoes, the kind made by a multitude of neighborhood establishments. In fact, there's even an trade organization, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, that has established rules and regulations regarding the ingredients, preparation, and cooking methods associated with pizza, and is dedicated to upholding and preserving pizza-making traditions. The association organizes an annual event called the Pizzafest to promote "la verace pizza napoletana artigianale."

Scioglilingua Pizzesca
One of the most effective methods for learning Italian (or any foreign language) is to focus on your interests—whether it be soccer (il calcio), music (bel canto opera), or food (la cucina italiana), you're more likely to retain vocabulary words and verbs associated with the given topic. For those crazy for pizza, here's a scioglilingua (tongue twister) featuring the word pizza and similar terms:

"Nel pozzo di Santa Pazzia protettrice dei pazzi, c'è una pazza che lava una pezza. Arriva un pazzo, con un pezzo di pizza e chiede alla pazza se ne vuole un pezzo. La pazza rifiuta. Il pazzo s'infuria, e butta la pazza, la pezza, la pizza nel pozzo di Santa Pazzia, protettrice dei pazzi."

Italian Vocabulary List: Pizza

  • aglio—garlic
  • basilico—basil
  • calzone—flat pizza folded in half with the topping sealed inside
  • cornicione—outer edge of the pizza crust
  • forno a legna—wood-burning stove
  • lievito—yeast
  • mozzarella di bufala—fresh, tasty cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes
  • oliera—olive oil cruet; In Neapolitan dialect, agliara (and the name of several pizzerias)
  • origano—oregano
  • pala di legno—wooden paddle (pizza peel)
  • parruozzo—double-baked filled pizza "sandwich"
  • pizza a fazzoletto—so-called when a slice is folded like a pocket handkerchief to be eaten on the go; also referred to as pizza al portafoglio (pizza “wallet style”)
  • pizzaiolo—pizza maker
  • pomodori a pendolo—hanging tomatoes (small cherry tomatoes on a vine)
  • sale marino—sea salt
  • spianatoia—large wooden board used specifically for dough and pasta (also called a tavolino)
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