It seems that in the past 10 years we’ve enjoyed a bit of a pizza boom. In Vancouver, where I live, there are many great spots serving thin crust Napolitano-inspired pies, cooked in wood-fired ovens and with great beer selections to boot. Visit enough pizza places and you become familiar with the names on the menus, as they come up again and again. To help decode what each name generally implies, topping-wise, we’ve compiled this handy guide. Hint: clues are often right there in the name.

Margherita

A classic pizza that is deceptively simple, but thoroughly delicious. Ingredients typically include tomato (or tomato sauce), mozzarella and basil, often with olive oil drizzled on top.

Marinara

Rivaling the margherita in simplicity, it features tomato (or sauce), garlic and olive oil, and sometimes oregano.

Salsiccia

Salsiccia means sausage, and that’s what you get with this one, usually with a tomato sauce base. Most versions also include some kind of zing to complement the salty sausage, possibly pickled vegetables or peppers, or chilli flakes or oil.

Diavola

Meaning devil in English, diavola is usually a fairly spicy pizza. The heat may come from chillies or a spicy salami or other meat. Usually has a tomato base and a mild cheese such as bocconcini and/or mozzarella.

L’Atomica

Another pie that packs heat, usually from a generous dose of red pepper flakes. Often comes with capers, cheese, some herbs and a tomato-y base layer.

Bianca

Bianca means white, so you’d be right in assuming that this pizza doesn’t have tomatoes, but cheese and oil, and usually a peppery addition to complement the cheese, such as arugula or parsley or black pepper. Pizza bianca is a common street food in Rome, where it’s essentially baked pizza dough with salt on it, and maybe olive oil.

Al Prosciutto

Pizza with prosciutto on it! You’re getting the hang of this!

Capricciosa

This one is full of flavor and lots of ingredients, usually including tomato sauce, mozzarella or fior di latte, prosciutto or ham, mushroom, artichoke and olives.

Napoletana

A classic pizza from Napoli, generally consisting of a margherita base with anchovies and capers added. Maybe olives too, if you’re lucky.

Cavoletti or Cavolini

The key here is Brussels sprouts, which add a vegetal earthiness that’s complemented (usually) by a nice creamy cheese. Tends to be a white pizza.

What’s your favorite type of pizza? Let us know in the comments!

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