As with all great “Whodunnits” in history, the invention of the almighty Hawaiian pizza has a few prospective culprits. Of course, the most likely suspect, in this case someone Hawaiian, is never the real guilty party (in fact, all reports show that Hawaiian’s rate their namesake pizza pretty lowly). But then, again, it wouldn’t be a good story if we weren’t left with a series of unlikely perpetrators.

According to the majority of reports this most delicious of culinary “crimes” (or amazing strokes of genius, depending on who you ask) can be traced back to 1960s Ontario, Canada. This version of events has it that the pizza was first created when young pizza entrepreneur Sam Panopolous captured the attention of the takeaway world by attempting to “pineapple-and-piggy-back” on the popularity of Hawaiian Surf Culture at the time. As we all know, however, the most retold version of a story is not always the correct one.

There is another telling of this tantalising topping team-up tale that seems to prove that Hawaiian pizza may actually be an Aussie thing (unlike pavlova and the various actors/musicians to which we so often lay claim.) Various historical photographs show Yarrawonga along the Murray River to be the first place pineapple and ham, together, graced a pizza base. As early as 1953, Alfred Quigley was importing pineapples from sunny Queensland to use in his woodfired pizza business (and apparently allowing historical photographers to catch him in the act.)

While some might argue that this does not necessarily solve, beyond measureable doubt, who we have to thank for this most delectable of dishes, it certainly lends insight into why Australians seem so fond of this particular pizza topping pairing (even though, internationally, pizza lovers seriously question the sanity of those who favour fruit on their pizza.)

Chemically, the pairing makes sense, as the sweet and tangy pineapple juice contains enzymes that breakdown protein (you know, what protein shakes, body builders and ham are made of), making pork products richer in flavour and more tender to taste. It is this digestive magic that has won Hawaiian a place in the hearts, and stomachs of many.

Although it’s divisive, there is no arguing that the tropical slant on pizza topping pairings is certainly something, if it has traveled the world and remained a readily available dish for the past 50 (or 60) years. So, snaps to whoever did invent this seriously palatable pizza. You have made a large portion of Australia, very, very happy.

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