The Popular Swedish Pizza Topping You'll Probably Never See In America


While you'd be hard put to find anyone who doesn't love pizza, the issue of what belongs on top often divides us more than it unites us. Some purists prefer plain cheese (often a favorite of the littlest pizza eaters), while many can't get enough meat, and others prefer vegetables or maybe a mix of both. There is even a faction that favors fruit — specifically, the always-controversial Hawaiian pizza. Gordon Ramsay isn't a fan, nor are Rachael Ray and Stanley Tucci, plus plenty of other people. But a certain vocal contingent will fight for their right to have pineapple on pizza

If you're not one of these fruit fans, however, you may be dismayed at the idea of one of Sweden's most popular pizzas. Tropicana pizza starts out like a typical Hawaiian one, topped with tomato sauce, cheese, ham, and, yes, pineapples, but then it takes a different turn with the addition of curry and, interestingly enough, bananas. Not even plantains, which are typically included in savory dishes, but those same yellow fruits that are so tasty in smoothies or topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce. How could bananas possibly make for a proper pizza topping? While they work quite well, according to all of the Swedes who love them, a Petaluma pizzeria that introduced a banana curry pie to the menu in 2022 noted that some of its California customers were reluctant to try the pizza.

Sweden has a history of culinary creativity

Banana pizza, who could have dreamed up such a thing? Perhaps only a Swede. While we've grown to know and love a small sampling of Swedish dishes from the Ikea cafe, none of these are too far removed from anything our tastebuds are already accustomed to. Back in Sweden, however, there's some pretty unique stuff. Around the time the Muppets' Swedish Chef borked his first bork, a man in Sweden came up with a casserole sure to make you toss your kitchen utensils — the "Flygande Jacob," like the pizza, starts off with a delicious mix of chicken, chili sauce, bacon, and cream, then mixes things up a bit with the addition of peanuts before once again introducing bananas, which seem to be quite popular in Sweden. Rather than rejecting his potluck offering (these types of dinners were big in the '70s), his neighbors quite liked the stuff. Apparently, it caught on and went whatever the 20th-century equivalent of viral was, since Swedes are still eating it 50 years later.

Sweden is also the birthplace of some pretty intriguing pizzas. One such pie encapsulates an entire Christmas meal of sausage, meatballs, ham, anchovies, potatoes, and cabbage on a single crust, while another includes reindeer and horseradish. A restaurant in Skottorp once offered pizza topped with kiwis, as well. Mamma Mia, here we go again ... Will pizza with meatballs and lingonberry sauce be next? That doesn't sound bad at all. Any interest, Ikea?