“Alice” in Italian is not a girl’s name. For fans of the famous HBO series, The Sopranos, you might recall the 13th episode of the fourth season, “Whitecaps.” During the show, Bobby orders a pizza with “alice” on it, but he pronounces it “ah-leech.” For other people, you may recognize a famous pizzeria called “Alice Pizza.”. So what is alice pizza topping?
If you’ve ever seen a pie from Alice Pizza or watched that episode on The Sopranos, you might question “what is alice pizza topping?” In terms of The Sopranos, this is a typical Italian way to order a pizza if you want anchovies on it. But, regarding Alice Pizza, it literally means “anchovy pizza” and they have a host of pies featuring this kind of fish.
While anchovies are not a fan favorite in places like the United States, they are a staple on pizza and other dishes throughout Italy and Sicily. Part of the reason for people’s dislike of this fish is due to the poor packaging and preparation it goes through. Truly, people’s largest aversion is because they are often too salty or slimy.
Whenever you see a menu at an Italian restaurant with the word “alice,” it doesn’t refer to a female’s name or the classic children’s story. It literally translates to “anchovies.” These are a classic and antiquated mainstay that’s synonymous with Italian cuisine.
For the uninitiated, anchovies are tiny fish with an intense flavor. They’re usually very salty but they provide a nice robust taste to things like Asian fish sauces and even Worcestershire sauce. But, it does have a fishy taste and their texture is rather giggly.
Therefore, it’s not a popular food in the United States but many people do love them. Anchovies are more of a cultural thing, where countries like Italy, France, and Spain will include these in common dishes. So, if you hear Italians ordering pizza and you hear, “ah-leech,” they’re requesting anchovies.
Toppings by Alice Pizza
Over 30 years ago, the first Alice Pizza appeared in Rome, Italy. There are over 100 locations throughout Italy and the world. You can even find them in Paris, France, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their name, essentially, means “anchovy.”
These are very flatbread pizzas with no excess crust. The rectangular shape of the pies and slices cover in toppings to your heart’s delight. Their specialty crust can handle an overload of toppings. It’s more like that famous thick sheet pizza from Sicily, called “sfincione,” which you can’t call it as such without anchovies as a topping.
About Their Toppings
Alice Pizza offers the typical things most Americans expect on a pizza like sausage, tomato, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, olives, mushrooms, and parsley. That is, of course, unless you’re Italian. Then they also have zucchini, artichokes, capers, and salami.
This place loves their toppings, which is evident how they offer things like bacon, ham, and shrimp. But they have tons of various kinds of cheese including, but not limited to mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, pecorino, burrata, and ricotta, among others. There are also some unusual toppings on their menu like ravioli and black truffle sauce.
Pizzas featuring Alice
There is a whole world of pizza that adorns this little salty fish. Some of these are famous while others are a bit more obscure. Truly, these are for those people who either have an adventurous palate or are diehard pescatarians.
- Napoli or Napoletana: Anchovies sit atop this pie along with tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano. Some places will also include capers.
- Romana: Capers and anchovies are the star of this pizza beset with other things like oregano, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
- Calzone (“folded pizza”): Calzones can fill with any topping, but the traditional way is to make it with anchovies along with artichoke hearts, oregano, mozzarella, ham, and tomatoes.
- Fiori di Zucca: Courgette flowers decorate this pizza with anchovies, olive oil, and mozzarella.
- Pizza Puttanesca: This is the American version of a cross between the Romana and Napoli. This has anchovies, tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, capers, and fresh basil.
- Pizza Marinara: In the United States, this is a light tomato sauce pizza with plenty of garlic, cheese and oregano. However, the traditional version always includes anchovies.
- Pizza Pisana: This smaller, thicker pizza bakes into metal plates. Once done cooking, it folds over with a type of chickpeas cake. It’s often a street food you can find in Italy, France, Malta, and even Sweden. This contains anchovies, grated Grana Padano cheese, and capers.
When, How to Order Pizza “Alice”
Many pizzerias throughout the world offer anchovies as a topping for pizza. But, if you want to order this traditional delicacy, you can’t always say “alice” (or ah-leech) at any place. For instance, you wouldn’t walk into a Domino’s or Pizza Hut and say, “I want a pizza alice.” No one will know what you mean.
However, if you’re in a bona fide Italian pizza parlor, then it will show your cuisine acumen by ordering it that way. But, when you do, make sure you say it correctly as “ah-leech.” Do not say “ah-leech-ay” or “ah-leech-ee.” These are different words, albeit closely related.
And, for heaven’s sake, do not say it in an “American” tone and don’t pronounce it the same as the girl’s name. Give it that Italian feeling, by being boisterous and zealous on emphasizing the end “leech” with a great inflection.
When you hear someone ordering a pizza and they say, “ah-leech” or “alice,” it refers to anchovies. The most common example is in The Sopranos episode, as discussed above. But, this is a real thing and there’s an actual famous pizzeria in Italy called, “Alice Pizza,” which features this delectable little fish.
It’s a staple in Italian cuisine, spanning every dish including pizza. Many classic pies include anchovies as their main ingredients. For instance, you can’t call a pizza a Napoli unless anchovies are on it. But, if you love to eat them, you can get them on any pizza you wish.