There are many simple pleasures in life: sleeping on fresh sheets, receiving post, finding money in your pocket, waking up in the night and realising you have more time to sleep, and of course, my personal favourite… pizza.
It is the ultimate comfort food. The go-to when there is nothing in the fridge. The cure for any illness *cough* hangover *cough*.
I am a girl who is lucky enough to say that she has once had the good fortune to enjoy an authentic margarita with good company, a crisp glass of white wine, and the Roman colosseum in the background, and all for the grand total of €10 (roughly £9). So imagine my horror when one lazy evening I decide to indulge in a few slices of Italy’s gift to the world, and find myself faced with a charge of £18 – without the wine!
Born in an Italian village, pizza is the superstar that took the world by storm. No matter who you are, the chances are pizza is a staple in your diet; ok, maybe not a staple, but it will certainly like to rear its head and remind you it’s there every once in a while. Gluten free? No matter. Cue the hipster cauliflower crust. Dairy free? We’ve got you covered too. Nutritional yeast: tastes like cheese. Why, oh why, then am I paying double to devour a greasier version of something that I once tucked into under a clear blue sky, in one of the world’s most popular tourist spots, with a cute Italian man in a waistcoat asking me how I like it, in bed with no makeup on and my hair scraped up out of the way?
In today’s wonderfully ever-expansive world, pizza can be found in all corners. I hear that as many as 350 slices of pizza are consumed every second. Many countries have adopted it and given it all the love and affection that it deserves, slowly raising it to reflect the traditions of its new home, without changing who it is at its core.
Australia has the bbq shrimp pizza. India has the curry pizza. Turkey has the pizza kebab. America did such a marvellous job that many truly believe that they are the grandfathers, not the Italians. I had to conclude that if the price could be so drastically different between Rome and North-East England, then so must it be between cities everywhere.
But why? Is it possible that the price of pizza is a reflection of the wealth of a country? Had I just invented the Pizza Index? I did some digging. Sadly not. A Pizza Hut pizza is more expensive in Brazil than it is in Japan; more expensive in France than it is in Canada; cheaper than all four in America. Perhaps I was way off-base and it was the fact that I ordered a renowned delivered Pizza brand over a local homemade pizza that inflated the cost. But that couldn’t be right either. The most expensive pizza in the world is $12,000 (£9,785…) and takes 72 hours to make. It is topped with buffalo mozzarella, three types of caviar, lobster from Norway and Cilento, and is lightly dusted with handpicked crystals of pink Australian sea-salt from the Murray River. It is also as homemade as it comes, with three Italian chefs taking over your kitchen for the full 72 hours to produce such a delicacy for you.
Ok, so that is a bit extreme. Maybe I’m paranoid. Or maybe it just all boils down to that fact that those clever people over at that popular takeaway pizza brand knows that in my desperate state at 10pm on a Sunday night I will pay just about anything for a taste of that cheesy goodness.