Pineapple Wasn't The First Fruit To Go On Pizza

If you enjoy pineapple pizza — aka Hawaiian pizza — you're not alone. According to a study conducted by Cinch Home Services, a slim majority of those surveyed, 57%, said they like to order pineapple on their pizza. Others, however, like celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, are vehemently opposed to eating pizza that's been anywhere near this tropical fruit. "Pineapple does not go on top of pizza," Ramsay once tweeted, receiving thousands and thousands of retweets in the process. No matter what side you're on, people have been making and ordering pineapple pizza since the 1960s after it was invented by Sam Panopoulos, a man of Greek descent who owned pizza restaurants in Canada. 

While pineapple pizza might date back to the '60s, the history of pizza as a whole goes way, way back. Actually, pineapple wasn't even the first fruit to grace the top of a pie. Per ZME Science, the people of the Italian island of Sardinia perfected the art of leavening bread, which eventually led to the invention of the pizza. As Genevieve Thiers writes in "The History of Pizza," the Persian people under King Darius I "baked a kind of bread flat upon their shields and then covered it with cheese and" — perhaps pizza's very first fruit topping — "dates." This was around the time of the sixth century B.C.

The debate over dates: What to pair and what to avoid

Though you may not have guessed it, dates are a good choice for a pizza topping not only because they taste great when paired with caramelized onions, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar. They're also pretty darn good for you. These little fruits have health benefits that include minimizing inflammation, reducing cholesterol (and therefore the risk of heart disease), and providing fiber, which is essential for digestive health (via WebMD).

As for other pizza toppings that pair well with your dates, one Redditor, who encouraged other users to try the fruit on their next cheesy pie, said they're "really good with salty pork products." Another Reddit user agreed, but noted that dates only made sense as a topping in certain settings. "I very much disagree that throwing them on as a topping to standard American pizza from a chain is at all a good idea though, that sounds disgusting," they wrote. "Fruits work with fresh, creamy cheese and light flavors. It'd clash like crazy with acidic/garlicky sauce and standard pizza cheese blends."

Other fruits to add to your pizza repertoire

Dates — and, controversially, as mentioned, pineapple — aren't the only fruits that have been used as a pizza topping. Other options might include apples, cherries, mangoes, figs, peaches, apricots, pears, strawberries, while bananas are often used as a pizza topping in Sweden. As far as pairings go, pears go well with nutty cheeses like Manchego and Parmesan and actual nuts like walnuts, while you might combine figs with goat cheese and arugula. Apples can accompany cheddar cheese, bacon, and a bit of blue cheese on top of a pizza.

These fruits might add an interesting flavor profile to your pizza, but not everyone likes them. Over on Reddit, users debated whether or not apples, for example, are a good choice for a pizza topping. One person shared they would totally try an apple pizza, provided it followed some specific criteria: "Cheese, apples, and bacon/or prosciutto could work but I would go without sauce or a white sauce." However, the fruity pie didn't sound so appealing to another commenter, who didn't sugarcoat things when referencing the apple pizza photo included in the thread. "Pizza? Where? Only thing I see is barf."