Brazil is known worldwide for its typical food, that is thought of as being exotic, mainly because of the ingredients available in Brazil. In this article, we will see that Brazilian pizzas have a style that is unique to Brazil as they incorporate some traits of Brazilian food.
History of the Pizza in Brazil
The pizza arrived in Brazil via Italian immigrants, who came to Brazil between 1880 and 1930. Italian immigration to Brazil is so significative that, as of 2013, 30 million Brazilians - nearly 15% of the Brazilian population - are of Italian descent, and almost half of them are located in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest pizza consuming state. Pizza consumption was restricted to Italians until 1950, when it spread throughout Brazil, gaining a few modifications from its original formula. In Brazil there is even a Pizza Day, which started on the 10th of December 1985.
The typical Brazilian pizza
The main feature of Brazilian pizzas is that they have very distinctive toppings. Whereas in Italy, the home of pizza, the toppings are scarce and often boil down to fine herbs and a few other ingredients, Brazilian pizzas tend to be less “conservative”, leading to an immense variety of different pizza toppings, closer to the American concept of pizza, although in Brazil it is common to see pizzas with half and half toppings.
Another important feature of Brazilian pizzas is their crust. Closer to the Italian style of pizza, Brazilian pizzas tend to offer a less-crunchy and thinner crust, differing from the American’s pizza, which has a very thick crust. Americans tend to describe Brazilian pizza crust as droopy and too thin. Also, in Brazil the pizza border can be filled with a variety of stuffings, like cheddar or a Brazilian creamy cheese called Requeijão.
The tomato sauce used in Brazilian pizzas also differs from pizzas in other countries. In Brazil, there is normally a very thin layer of tomato sauce - generally not seasoned - and is laid between the crust and the toppings. This is different to Italy - where the sauce is very finely seasoned - and in the United States, where a thicker layer of tomato sauce is present.
Finally, normal-sized pizzas in Brazil are cut into eight slices and are generally eaten with cutlery, whereas they are generally cut into four slices in the United States and eaten without cutlery. Pizzas in Brazil are larger than in Italy and somewhat smaller than in the United States.
Most common pizza toppings
The following savory pizza toppings are amongst the most common in Brazil:
- Atum - tomato sauce, raw grated tuna and onions
- Brócolis - tomato sauce, mozzarella, broccoli, bacon slices, cream cheese and oregano
- Calabresa - tomato sauce, calabresa sausage, onions and oregano
- Frango com catupiry - tomato sauce, shredded chicken, cream cheese and oregano
- Mussarela - tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and oregano
- Margherita - tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and tomato slices
- Portuguesa - tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, calabrian sausage, ham, onion, bell pepper, boiled eggs and green or black olives
- Quatro queijos - blend of four melted cheese, normally mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan and cream cheese
The following sweet pizza toppings are amongst the most common in Brazil:
- Banana com canela - sweetened condensed milk, banana slices and cinnamon powder
- Brigadeiro - sweetened condensed milk mixed with chocolate powder and strawberry slices
- Romeu e Julieta - guava marmalade and white cheese
All you can eat pizza restaurants
It is common to see all you can eat restaurants which specialize in serving a huge variety of pizzas in Brazil. In these restaurants, quantity is often more important than quality and some uncommon pizza toppings may appear such as potato sticks, pork, stroganoff and shrimp. After the savory toppings, sweet pizzas are served.
Frozen pizza culture in Brazil
Despite being one of the most unhealthy food products, frozen pizzas have become increasingly common in Brazilian’s food routine. Even though they are considered too salty and too greasy, a survey by the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection shows that frozen products attract around 21% of all supermarket consumers whenever a new product is introduced.
Due to its convenience, frozen products are becoming a part of the Brazilian food culture. And among them, pizzas are the second most popular product, being consumed by 33% of people that bought frozen food. Among the people who consume frozen pizza, 45% eat frozen pizza at least once a week and 35% of them eat frozen pizza between one to three times per month.
The largest consumption of frozen pizza is in the Southern states of Brazil, where Italian immigrants are more numerous. According to Nielsen Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná account for 41% of all frozen pizza consumption in Brazil.